Pretty much the ONE person I know who actually loves his job, and gets everything he wants out of it: Kunal Das. Here’s how he did it (and it’s not rocket science….well….unless you’re actually a rocket scientist):
It’s always helpful if you have a little guiding light before you graduate high school or college….and you get to talk to people who do what you wanna do.
For example, in high school I wanted to be a doctor (because I’m Indian)….so I joined a two-year program where I got to leave school every-other-day for 3 hours and shadow different types of doctors.
HOLY SHIT I HATED IT!
I learned several things from “sort-of-being” a doctor:
I despised the sterile medical environment.
I was NOT the slightest bit empathetic to patients (and therefore would be an awful doctor).
I didn’t realize doctors have to put up with SO MUCH bullshit red tape, legal concerns, and insurance company crap.
…because I got to “see my future” I immediately knew I would NOT be willing to put much work into becoming a doctor, and would surely fail when it came time to difficult exams, MCAT’s and medical school.
Most people don’t get that chance, and go BLINDLY into some profession without thinking it through.
————————————————————– 2nd NOTE: There’s a video at the bottom when you’re done reading
HOW TO CRASH A PARTY:
There was a point in college where I was making money running small businesses on the side, but I wasn’t rolling in piles of money either (plus I was extraordinarily cheap back then too).
At the same time, I’d also find out about all these fancy parties that rich people went to. Well….I wanted to be a rich person one day, so I figured going to these parties and being AROUND other rich people would help.
The problem was these parties were always fundraisers for whatever charity….and that meant you had to buy a ticket that would go to charity. Often times this was $300 or even $1,000+ for ONE ticket!
As a cheap college student, that kind of money made my eyes pop out. There was no way in hell I’d pay that.
In particular, one mentor of mine at the time was the one who knew about all these parties, and had friends that attended them too.
I’d hear all about these parties, and the cool people he’d get to mingle with in casual situations, and I was very envious and wanted to go.
You see…..I would go to all sorts of speeches made by rich & famous people all the time in college…..but since these were public speeches, there were always TONS of other people vying for their attention at the same time. At most you’d get to have a Q&A session with someone, but not much more.
Being able to casually chat with a rich or famous person was WAY more appealing to me. So these parties became a thing of intrigue.
Eventually the same mentor who told me about all these parties tipped me off about a very exclusive private party at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin….with entertainment by the singer Elton John.
I wasn’t really an Elton John fan at the time…..but I was told A LOT of very wealthy people would be there. I believe the crowd was limited to about 200 people that night….so this was a very exclusive guest list.
Out of the blue, this mentor called me up around 6pm and said, “Wear a tuxedo and get your ass to the Four Seasons right now!!” He would try to see if he could sneak me in.
Even if I was willing to pay the high price of admission….it wouldn’t matter. This was a strictly invite-only affair and there were no tickets simply for sale.
I immediately dropped everything I was doing and started changing into my tux…..oh wait…Non-existent tuxedo!
This was early college, and I still didn’t own any really nice clothes.
I put on a plain black dress shirt and a pair of khaki pants. Both of which were large and baggy on me….and headed over.
The first indication that I didn’t belong at the event was when everyone in their Mercedes and Porsches were being directed to the valet parking area….and I balked at the $7 price and immediately KNEW I wasn’t gonna pay $7 to park!
I self-parked and walked into the hotel nervous as hell.
“What if they kick me out?”
“What if they know I’m not invited?”
“What if they ask me for a ticket?”
…..these thoughts ran through my head. But then I remembered the advice of my mentor…he told me, “Just walk in like you OWN the place, and they won’t say a thing.”
This comforted me a bit….until I got in the hotel, and it was a bunch of tall, older white men with impeccable tuxedos, and a bunch of white women with very expensive gowns and dresses on.
I gulped a bit….because in walks this small Indian kid dressed in un-ironed baggy khakis a plain black shirt.
I looked like the help!
In fact, “the help” was dressed better than I was!!
For a second the striking difference between me and the rest of the crowd made me nervous……but alas I kind of pulled through and said, “FUCK IT. What’s the absolute worst thing that could happen here?? This is just a private party….I’m not breaking into a bank or federal building right? At the ABSOLUTE MOST they’ll ask me to leave.”
I stuck my head up in the air like I was King-Fucking-Charles and charged past the checkin line where everyone was getting their tickets checked and getting their seat numbers.
I pretended I was in a hurry, not worrying about gently shoving people out of the way.
I could see the security guards eyeing me down….but my hurriedness and sheer balls of pushing my way through the crowd made it APPEAR that I belonged!
It worked! No one said a thing!
I realized the security guards were likely getting paid $10 an hour….and if this stupid little kid was someone’s son, or part of Elton John’s crew…or whatever…..they weren’t going to risk physically stopping him.
I WAS IN!
…and I was thrilled.
Now the hard part came. I knew NO ONE. ::gulp::
The tiny guest list ensured that only 200 or so people would be there…and it seemed they ALL knew each other.
Immediately I knew that this would be fly or die…..so I decided to fly….and meet some people so it looked like I wasn’t some loser who crashed a charity event (which of course…I was).
I saw a guy (who was tall, white, and wearing a tuxedo of course) standing alone briefly as he left conversation and I said something along the lines of, “Ahh….it feels good wearing the penguin suit in summer right?”
…..he laughed…..and I immediately started saying, “Yeah, I said screw it this time…it’s too hot!” (referring to my less-than-appropriate attire).
He laughed again….. I then asked, “What line of business are you in?”
I still remember this years later…..he said, “Carpet!”
My lame conversation starter and NOT so-subtle cues that “I totally belonged there” worked!
His business piqued my curiosity and we started having a cool conversation about how he built up a carpeting empire.
Fortunately I ran HouseOfRave.com (a drop shipping company) and a few other small businesses at the time….so I had something to talk about on my end which fascinated him too.
….of course I never let him know exactly how SMALL these companies were :-)
From the conversation he probably thought I was some young tech entrepreneur that made millions in the tech bubble.
That was good at the time….this was my first time hanging with so many high caliber people….I wanted that misunderstanding on my side!
Fake it till you make it baby!
Anyhow….I made sure to get this guys name so I could at least fall back knowing SOMEONE at the party.
I then hit up another person, and another.
After a while, I was walking through the cocktail room saying, “What’s up John! Hey Tim! Did your wife reach yet??”
This was schmoozing at it’s finest! And I’ve gotta say….it worked like a charm.
With all my “friends” there….Anyone viewing from the outside would’ve definitely thought I belonged.
It was also at this party that I discovered a remarkably effective “friend-pickup” technique for these particular types of parties:
The bar line.
You see, at all these charity events the booze is free….and flowing.
Whatever you want, it’s all there, and 100% free.
I guess they do this for two reasons:
Reason 1.) You already pay a pretty penny just to get into these parties.
Reason 2.) They wanna get you nice and tipsy for the upcoming auctions. The drunker you are…the more you spend!
Anyhow…back to the free booze.
Usually at the cocktail hours that’s always before the main event, everyone is lining up for drinks at the bars.
At this party there was always at least 5 to 8 people waiting in line. I would simply stand in line behind someone, and immediately strike up a conversation with the following line, “Oh man a line….I need my booze now. Next time I’m bringing flask!”
They’d laugh and remark about the lines the whole night too. I’d ask them, “So whatchya getting when our number is called?”
….and they’d say something like, “Oh me and my wife always drink Gin & tonic (or whatever)”
….at which point I’d say, “Good choice….you come to these often…I’ve never seen you around?”
Doesn’t matter how lame…the point was staying in conversations!
I’d also make it a VERY strong point to introduce myself quickly after, so I could get their name also.
Also the “what line of business are you in” question would pop up quickly so I’d have something else to know them by.
My bar line trick was very effective….because by default you’ve got a minute or two to spend chatting with this person, and they’re usually not gonna be a complete douche because they’re basically stuck with you.
I was building up my arsenal of friends at the party one-by-one……and then it would SNOWBALL.
For example, I’d be talking to someone named John….when out of the blue he’d see a friend of HIS named Bill.
John will call Bill over and say hello, and then introduce ME to Bill! Now this Bill guy thinks I somehow actually belong….and not to mention I’m talking to a crowd of people who appears to know me, which is always good for the party planners to see so they don’t get suspicious.
Now just shortly after entering the room knowing NOBODY, I’m engrossed in conversations, saying hi to people everywhere and working the room!
Everything was going great until dinner was announced. It was a PACKED house and every seat in the ballroom was taken.
I went around from friend-to-friend to scope out if they had a seat, but all their tables were 100% packed to the limit.
I kind of panicked and left the ballroom. I retreated to the cocktail area and “pretended to be on an important business call”.
Eventually I found some other people hanging out there during dinner and struck up conversations.
A fortunate break was when Elton John started playing in front of the guests, a lot of people got out of their chairs and stood up towards the front for a better view. I was in luck! I simply stood with everyone else and enjoyed pretty much the most mind-blowing performance I’d ever seen.
FYI….I never really cared or knew who Elton John was (other than the Lion King song), but after that day, I’ve been an Elton John fan ever since.
It was just one man and a piano…..and that room was just FILLED with unbelievable music.
ANYHOW….I enjoyed myself, got to see a mind-blowingly great performance….
But more importantly is….I was mingling in a group full of WEALTHY people whom I admired. That was the goal.
Normally I didn’t have access to this kind of environment……but as with a lot of things in life, if you want it bad enough, you have to go out and get it.
Now since this first party, I’ve crashed MANY parties I wasn’t invited to, or just flat out couldn’t afford. Some methods of getting to these parties or events were borderline illegal….no….wait….let me correct that statement….some methods of getting into these parties or events were DEFINTELY illegal.
…and I’ve got criticism for that.
People would say, “All these people are giving to charity…and you’re sneaking in, eating the food, drinking the booze….all for free, at the expense of a CHARITY.”
Hmmm….in that light I really look like a monster.
But I look at it this way:
There’s people at these events I want to be like…..and currently I am NOT like them. In reality, I didn’t have access to those things…..and couldn’t afford to pay the price to get in. But making certain connections, learning certain things from the people there…can HELP me become more successful in the future….and at some point hopefully be able to buy full tables at these events.
But at the time….I couldn’t. So I had to get in some other way.
A lot of people in the beginning of successful careers did things that were not completely legal or ethical…..but it was how they scraped by in the beginning.
In middle school I used to illegally download music and software and burn it onto CD’s for paying customers.
Richard Branson of the Virgin Music empire used to drive a van full of new records back and forth between countries in Europe to avoid paying taxes on them.
The founders of Apple, Steve jobs and Steve Wozniak….made their very first product in 1971….and it was a device that exploited the phone networks and let you illegally place calls for free.
Las Vegas in it’s early days was a hangout for pimps, thugs, prostitutes, drug dealers and mobsters……but over time grew up into a proper tourist attraction.
Often out of the ghettoness and scrappiness, emerges something more refined.
And that was my justification.
Through crashing parties I’ve got to meet people like Lance Armstrong, Michael Dell, Elton John, Andy Roddick, Paul Mitchell and a bunch of other non-famous business people (there’s a list of them at the end of this post).
I’ve also got tons of advice from people at these parties, and learned a lot about various businesses.
But let’s re-focus here….and show how YOU can crash parties too……if you’ve got the balls.
STEP #1.) Finding a party is by far the hardest part.
You have to live in at least in a moderately good sized city. I lived in Austin, TX. this whole time….and honestly I never thought a lot of fancy charity events and parties happened here….but I was really wrong.
The mentor that told me about most of these parties taught me to keep a spreadsheet of all the parties I’d hear about or attend….and usually the parties would happen at the same time every year.
I had about 50 webpages booked marked that I’d go through each week. They were the big charities websites, and I would keep their EVENTS pages book marked and tracked on the spreadsheet.
I’d also read those high society magazines about the Austin area. You can find them at nice spas or rich area grocery stores. They usually have lots of pictures from high profile events in there….and I’d write down the event, so next year I could crash it.
I always had bookmarks of ALL the events pages around Austin…especially the University of Texas speakers that would come in town.
It’s not only high profile events you can crash….but lots of university private things.
A friend once tipped me off that Michael Dell would be speaking at her law school class (apparently his brother taught at the UT Law School for a while). I crashed that and it was an awesome talk.
So step #1 is finding out about parties. Start keeping tabs of what’s going down. It involves doing research every week, but it’s the only way to find out about all this stuff unless you’ve got someone on the inside.
Step #2 to crashing a party is:
BUY A TUXEDO! This one’s for the guys. Girls can usually get away with having a decently nice dress…..but in my experience it’s better to go alone, because the point of these parties is to force yourself to MINGLE. And if you have a date with you, you could get complacent and just hang out together without getting out of your comfort zone.
Anyhow….buy a regular old black tuxedo. It’s always OK to be over-dressed….but you don’t wanna show up to a black-tie event (which means TUXEDO’S for guys), and get turned away due to dress code.
I bought mine at K&G Men’s Warehouse for $150. They’re really not that expensive when you consider it usually will cost at least $300 just to attend one of these events.
If you show up overdressed, you now have your tuxedo as a great conversation starter!
I’d say my tuxedo has paid for itself MANY MANY MANY times over by now!
It’s funny how simply wearing a tuxedo gives you automatic status…..it works so well I find it absolutely hilarious.
One really cool event we crashed was on a FREAKIN MILITARY BASE AT NIGHT. That means you had to drive to this very specific location at night, on a military base…..and even though I didn’t have a ticket…..the fact that I showed up at the exact private location IN A FREAKIN TUXEDO let the people working there know I belonged.
They didn’t even question for a moment. But if I had waltzed in with jeans and a t-shirt, it may have been a different story.
Step # 3 to crashing a party:
Keep old name badges and wristbands from different events. Almost every time when you check in with a ticket, they will give you some sort of identification that you belong.
Almost every time it’s a lanyard you wear around your neck, a namebadge to put on your shirt, or a wristband.
I have a collection of these….and when I go to an event, I bring a bunch of em. I scope out what everyone is getting, and put on the closest thing.
At events that I’ve crashed, it’s almost always a lanyard with a name badge at the end that everyone wear around their necks.
Since I’ve already got a couple of these, I pick the lanyard that looks the closest, wear it around my neck….
And the trick is….
You tuck it under your suit.
This way it appears you’re wearing the lanyard, but they can’t see the badge you’re wearing. By sheer assumption, everyone presumes you’ve just accidentally pulled your suit jacket over the lanyard. Whooopsie ;-)
I would attend entire conferences like this!! Even if the lanyard color was different! They would just presume you had a different type of badge than they did.
Step #4.) Press badges:
In college I had my blog NevBlog.com, and I also published three articles in the University of Texas newspaper (which happens to be the #1 college newspaper in the country)…..so I would sometimes just make up shit and say I was covering the event as press!
This works SURPRISINGLY well.
Think about it, every event likes press coverage….and I was a quote on quote…“member of the press”!
One of the really neat-o things I found out about press access….was that the press almost always has it’s own table at a lot of events! This means you’ll always have a spot for dinner (although it’s better to mingle and sneak in with other people if you get the chance).
You can also sometimes get into exclusive press conferences with press access. At one event I crashed, I got to meet the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
I won’t go into details about that, because the methods used to crash that event were HIGHLY illegal…..but the short of is: I had press access, yadda yadda yadda, got to be in a room with only 25 people, half of which were big-ass security guards, and the Prime Minister of Malaysia giving a press address 5 feet in front of me. I then politely asked one of his assistants if I could take a personal picture with him (I didn’t DARE approach the guy myself with the level of security he had)….and I got the picture!
You can Google Image the term Prime Minister of Malaysia Neville to see the photo!
Step #5 to crashing a party: Do your research at the venue beforehand. Almost always you can find alternative entrances to enter the party.
One time me and a friend had no luck getting through the main entrance of a party at the Hilton Ballroom.
So we went up to the hotel’s 17th floor (randomly). Picked out a room number to lie that we were staying there….then found the service elevators.
We were both in tuxedos.
We went down a few floors, and a maid got on the elevators. We made a joke that our room was close to the elevators and we were too lazy to walk to the real elevators.
She smiles, laughed, and got off a few floors down (I don’t think she understood what we were saying….or cared).
Then the elevator stopped again, and a freakin SECURITY GUARD got on with us. Damn.
The security guard was a young black guy (he actually kind of looked like the singer Usher)….and we immediately laughed and said, “Sorry man, we’re in room 1716 and were just too damn lazy to walk to the regular elevators!”
He responded, “You guys look like a million bucks! Where ya trynna go?”
We told him the big ballroom downstairs, and pretend to play dumb, “Can we just get out on the 4th floor and go there?”
He said “No way…this is the service area, I’ll take you to the ballroom!”
So we all got off on the 4th floor, and the security guard was leading us through a maze of service area halls. We ended up coming out to a back entrance of the ballroom where another security guard was standing at attention. Our security guard said, “These guys are with me” and let us through into the party!!
We were laughing our ASSES off that we first got kicked out of line for having no tickets….now we had our own little police escort INTO the party!!! HA!
This was all thanks to simply knowing the venue a bit before arriving.
Step #6 to crashing a party:
The trick, is to OWN the room.
Before you walk in, literally tell you brain that, “I own this joint….these motherfuckers work for ME.”
The air of confidence (or arrogance) you give off will discourage people from stopping you.
In fact, I’m going to give you my NUMBER ONE NO-FAIL method to getting into a fancy party:
Step #7 – the last-resort-works-every-time-method: If you use all the tips I’ve given you…and couple it with this last one….you’ll DEFINITELY be able to crash almost any party. Here’s how you do it:
Wear your nice tuxedo, bring a plain wine glass (one dollar a piece at Wal-Mart), a cocktail napkin, a cell phone, and a flask with red wine in it.
Right before you walk in the venue, pour some of the wine into the wine glass, and wrap the cocktail napkin around it.
You’re ready to walk in.
Start talking on your cell phone, holding your wine glass and cocktail napkin (so it appears you were already inside)…..now start power walking through the door.
If someone has the balls to stop you and check you for ticket, you just simply SHUSH them as if you’re annoyed (since you’re talking on the phone) ….and you keep on walking!
This has worked for me EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Here’s a brief illustration of how you do it:
Checkout out that “DON’T HASSLE ME BRO” look!
Think about it….the person checking people in is probably making $12 an hour, or is a volunteer…..they don’t want to risk being mean to the “rich person” walking inside in a hurry (who CLEARLY has been inside because he’s holding a half-full wine glass).
The way you look with a wine glass, cell phone, hurried walk and tuxedo attire….is an almost guaranteed admission inside if you pull it off correctly!
SOOOO there ya go. That’s how to find and crash parties.
Most people reading or listening to this will never do this…..it takes a lot of balls and determination to try something like this….but in the end, it was totally worth it.
The people I met, the stories I got, the things I learned, and the pictures I got from these parties were amazing.
I definitely think it was one of those things that’s helped drive me…..and if nothing else, provide some damn interesting stories and fun times :-)
This is Neville Medhora. Goodnight.
Here’s some other posts about parties I crashed:
——————————————————– Your Top Five Influences. by: Neville Medhora
I’m sitting on the island of Hawaii right now….and it’s very clear that everything here is well….slow.
The pace of life.
The ideas and ambitions they have.
It’s like this in every small island nation I’ve been.
Maybe you’ve noticed this too.
But why is this?
Is there something in the air?
Are the genetics of Hawaiians that much different than the rest of us?
Of course not.
The reason things are slow here, is because the people who grew up in this easy-going environment picked up traits from the people around them.
They are simply a product of their environment.
Now let’s forget Hawaiians for a second, and focus on ourselves….well, unless you’re Hawaiian J
Let’s pretend we grew up in a blue-collar, working-class town where high school football is practically a religion.
Everyone around you has similar factory jobs and they all constantly talk about the high school football team….because many of them were on it in their generation.
If we were raised in this environment….how do you think we’d turn out?
I’d bet 98 out of 100 people turn out the exact same way. They will enter blue-collar type roles, live roughly the same way as the people before them, and closely follow high school football.
This is simply because we are a product of our environment.
You almost can’t HELP but grow up a certain way with that upbringing.
Now let’s press the reset button.
Let’s presume instead that you grew up much like Steve Jobs, the man behind one of the biggest companies in the world (Apple) that completely revolutionized many industries.
Your parents would be blue collar people, but focused on fine craftsmanship. Your are growing up in the heart of a developing Silicon Valley. Everyone of your neighbors is an engineer of some sort….building new and exciting things at the top technology companies on the planet. Most of your friends are extremely into the newly emerging field of computers….and you all get together and tinker with them on a daily bases.
Your friends are curious kids who constantly tinker with technology, and all of their parents encourage that.
People who live near you are CEO’s of large technology companies which are changing the world. Entrepreneurs all around you are taking new technologies and making products out of them.
There’s a buzz in the air brewing with new technology and excitement.
Now….how do you think we’d turn out in that environment?
I bet it would be radically different from the small blue-collar upbringing wouldn’t it?
Your interests would be different.
Your thoughts would be different.
Your ambitions would be different.
What you think is POSSIBLE in your life is totally different.
All because you’re the product of your environment.
Now, am I saying that unless you were fortunately placed in some amazing area in an amazing time in history…that you’re doomed?
No…not one bit. In fact, most successful people spring from drastically different environments. Often from extraordinarily poor backgrounds.
So how do we break the mold that 98% of the people around us blindly follow?
I’ll tell you how it can be done.
Everyone can do these things….but most don’t.
The materials you need to break out of the mold are available to almost everyone….but most don’t really follow through.
They simply sit back comfortably in their familiar life and idle along.
For a lot of people that’s ok….but for a select few….the desire to break out itches and rubs until they MUST take action.
But before I tell you some specific steps to break out of this mold…let me explain the principle behind this.
You are the composite average of the top five people you hang around.
Did you get that?
You are the composite average of the top five people you hang around.
This phrase is simply a variation of the quote “We are a product of our environment” ….but I like this one better because it’s extremely specific.
You are the composite average of the top five people you hang around.
Think about it.
Think about the top five people you spend the most time around.
It can be friends, it can be a roommate, it can be co-workers, it can be a spouse, it can be your family.
Identify the top five people you spend the MOST amount of hours with.
Now look at them.
Do they live the kind of lives you want to live? Or do you want to avoid living like them?
Do they do the kind of things you want to do? Or do they involve themselves in activities you find unappealing?
Do they think about the things you like to think about? Or do they have shallow thoughts and conversations you don’t enjoy?
Do they challenge themselves and others to become better? Or do they simply coast along with their lives?
What did you answer?
Do you like the people you hang around the most?
Would you like to one day grow up like them?
If yes….then you’re well on your way. Because… you are the composite average of the top five people you hang around.
However if you DO NOT want to become like the people around you…..you are facing some trouble. Because… you are the composite average of the top five people you hang around.
However, I promised you that we can change this. Even if you’re not able to extract yourself completely from your environment.
Let’s get started fixing this problem immediately.
The goal here is to become influence by GREAT people who have legitimately achieved GREAT things. And here’s a way to get DIRECTLY INFLUENCED by some of the greatest humans in history.
That’s it. Read.
It sounds so simple…but let me explain a little more.
Read auto-biographies where great people first-handedly describe their lives.
It’s incredible what you’ll pick up from these.
You’ll learn how they handled problems.
How they think.
How they defied odds.
You’ll learn about their triumphant successes….as well as all the miserable failures it took to reach them.
You’ll learn what they did at every stage in life.
Now simply reading ONE persons life history isn’t good enough.
I admire many world-famous musicians for their talents and accomplishments, but I personally wouldn’t want to live lives… like theirs.
However I can still read about them and emulate certain aspects of their success.
I remember reading an interview with the famous Comedian Jerry Seinfeld….and they asked him if he was a Scientologist because a reporter found out he attended a few Scientology classes.
He denied being a Scientologist and said:
“These kind of things are like going to the supermarket. You go to the supermarket and there’s all this stuff, most of which you don’t need. You simply go in, pick up the items you want, then leave.”
Now that’s marvelous isn’t it?
In one simple explanation he said that you can learn different things from different places. You may not agree with everything one guru, one author, or one celebrity ….but you CAN learn small nuggets about their success from hearing their stories.
This is why it’s important to immerse yourself with intelligent and successful people. Even if you don’t have any around you….you can easily obtain books they’ve written.
In this era, we can even load up video interviews over the Internet instantly with virtually any celebrity, businessman or success story.
We can watch these things and learn little golden nuggets from each.
Go to your local library and browse the biographies and auto-biographies. Find a name that appeals to you…it can be a celebrity, businessman, sports star….whoever. And read about their life.
See how they overcame obstacles.
See how they got certain lucky breaks.
See how they handled stressful situations.
See how they broke the mold of the people around them.
The more you read, the more you will start noticing patterns, and the more YOU will start emulating those people you so admire.
You see….if you want to become like someone….you can simply act like them!
This is an amazing little mind hack that can work wonders.
Do you admire a certain successful person?
Whenever you’re presented with a situation. Do what they would do.
Act like they would act.
Participate in activities they participate in.
There’s a famous quotation that says, “Success leaves clues.”
It means if you see someone successful…you can follow in his or her footsteps to have better odds at becoming more successful yourself.
If you live in a negative environment, immersing yourself in these kinds of books or materials can completely change your life.
So let’s quickly re-cap what we’ve talked about here tonight:
If you analyze the top 5 people you hang around….and you want to turn out like them, then you’re in great company.
However if your circle of influence could use a little work….then you can either start eliminating some of those people….or adding more influences through books, videos, interviews….all the above.
But keep in mind….you must read A LOT for this to work. Enough to where these successful people you admire become a bigger influence than the negative people around you.
Doing this can completely change your thoughts.
And therefore completely change the course of your life.
It has for millions of people, and can work for you too.
God I’ve heard that question so many times before.
A good deal of people I know see my lifestyle:
No set working time
Take any day off
Don’t have to commute anywhere
Can work from any location
….and they think it’s great. And I got admit…it ain’t bad!
Many of them realize that working 9-5 is not just 9-5, but also the night before, the morning of….so it consumes and dictates nearly your entire day, what you can do, when you go on vacation etc.
If you like your job…this isn’t really a problem, but if you don’t….yeesh.
So back to the question I get from someone who’s never started a business and now wants to after years of working:
“I want to start a business but don’t know where to start”
To burst most bubbles quickly: It’s doubtful it will happen. I’ve seen long-term working people start successful businesses only a few times. Usually the longer someone’s worked, the more likely they will not succeed. Most people trying this are in the wrong frame of mind almost immediately. They just want to “make some money” without doing much work.
Anyhow, for this question I will try to assume the role of how I’D PERSONALLY go about starting a business with no particular business acumen.
First and foremost I’d GET MY LEARN ON. That’s right….prepare to READ A SHIT LOAD OF STUFF. And TAKE NOTES. It’s like school.
Then I would try to implement what I’ve learned and make $100 from it.
I think those three short sentences above can teach you an immense deal about business.
The benefit of this is:
1.) It’s easy to make $100 in just about anything.
2.) Simply DOING something will very quickly show if you like it or not.
3.) Your desire to learn will be way more intense if you’re currently DOING something real….not just thinking about a hypothetical business you might build.
It is ABSOLUTELY GRATIFYING to destroy the dreams of people who say, “I want to start a business but can’t think of anything”.
Me: “What business books have you read?”
Them: “Ummmm, none.”
Me: “Have you ever written down what you like to do, what skills you have etc. on a piece of paper? Spent a couple of hours on it?”
Them: “Hmmmmm…..not really.”
Me: “Have you sought out business people you admire and asked them to show you how their business works”
Them: “I once saw YouTube video of Bill Gates.”
Me: “So basically you’ve done NOTHING to realize your dream of starting a business?”
All through college I started alllllll sorts of random businesses and small websites. With A LOT of work, some of them could’ve taken off, but they would be uphill battles.
At one point I had (no joke) TEN little businesses running at the same time.
This is on one hand GREAT for the creative side of me, and gave me GREAT practice actually executing ideas REALLY REALLY fast.
On the other hand, it would bog me down into businesses that weren’t solid as I initially thought, and constantly distracted me.
So over the years I’ve learned how to KILL “decent” ideas…you might be able to relate:
So here’s what happens:
1.) I’ll randomly think of some idea or small little problem to solve.
2.) Get all excited about it and how big it can be.
3.) Start executing.
4.) Buy domain name, setup website, write content, make graphics, figure out technical aspects yadda yadda.
5.) Put a lot of work (not necessarily SMART work though) into it, get marginal results.
6.) It sits around. Makes enough money not to pull the plug, but not enough to focus on it.
7.) Eventually lose interest.
8.) Sell it or pull the plug.
What I SHOULD be doing before even THINKING of anything else is:
Analyzing who the target market will be.
Is this market big enough? Do these people pay lots of money for services/products?
Exactly what field is this in?
What product/service will I be offering them?
Is there competition, what are they doing wrong/right?
Will my product/service be better? Marketed better?
all sorts of other analytical questions that kill the hype in your head.
In the past, I’ve had a really tough time asking myself questions like the above…because it kills the mood!
But sometimes a good mood killer is the right medicine to cure the temporary hype you’ve built up in your head.
At least for people who execute any business idea really fast, I think it’s great to be optimistic about every idea, but it’s also nice to put that idea through a barrage of battering tests before it sees fruition (people who have issues executing should probably do the opposite).
Now I’d like to take you through a real life example of a recent “Brain Hype” I’ve had…and how I killed the idea through rationality. I’ll show you how I still get so excited about certain ideas that I need to run them by wise friends to kill them.
I’ve been wrestling with the problem lately of my business House of Rave, and how I wanted to grow it to $1,000,000/year doing less work than I do on it now. While it’s grown moderately, things like the economy have prevented fast growth (oh yea, and my own laziness and lack of marketing knowledge).
So I KNOW this goal is possible, I just wasn’t going about it the right way.
I noticed two things which might help:
When I publicly post a concrete goal on this blog and set a consequence if it doesn’t happen, I do it.
I work better in front of an audience (AKA I’m a showoff).
Thinking about those two things, I got the idea of publicly showing everything I do to quadruple HoR within one year. In my head, I coined the project, “The Million Dollar Project.”
In my head I started getting REALLY hyped about this idea!
The wheels were spinning, and my Boogie Board was ablaze with scribbled ideas.
I started thinking about all the media outlets that would cover me, how people would diligently follow along, how they would ANTICIPATE EVERY POST I make, how people would scramble to copy what I was doing, how I would build a huge email list, how advertisers would pay huge money to sponsor my site, how I could sell “premium content” for detailed tours of the business, how people would signup for monthly subscriptions to the site.
I even started doing “fuzzy math” in my head: “Hmmm, if I get 6,000 people paying $20/month for a subscription, I’d make $120,000 a month!”
Basically the “Hype Machine” has temporarily taken over!
I then started poking around to see if domain names were available. I kept saying, “The Million Dollar Project” in my head, so I went with that. RATS….it was taken! So I shot off a quick few phone calls and emails. 20 minutes later, the owner was willing to unload the domain for $250.
One more phone call and a swipe of the Visa, the domain TheMillionDollarProject.com was transfered to me. PROGRESS!
I was getting giddy from all the excitement of doing “How HoR Runs” blog posts and live-recording my screen showing the inner workings of House of Rave, and how I’d soon be building The Million Dollar Project AND House of Rave at the exact same time.
THHHEEEENNNN I decided, “If this is such a good idea, let me run it past a few friends.”
My first target was a close friend who runs a big company and whose opinion I definitely respect. I told him, “I’m going to make something called The Million Dollar Project where I openly talk about getting House Of Rave to a million dollars.”
When I got done with my spiel, I remember his momentary pause which made me second-guess my entire idea (when you know someone pretty well, you can tell a lot from those small reactions). I could tell his excitement wasn’t even close to mine. He started asking some general questions and the conclusion was, “It’s an OK idea.”
But it wasn’t a GREAT idea that got him excited. And I knew it right then.
The problem with this idea, is that it’s actually decent…but it wasn’t well thought out.
So I call another friend whose opinion I highly respect, and who has a natural risk-adversity….but is still a successful entrepreneur. He’s often the perfect person to rip the beating heart out of a poorly thought-through idea….but does it very nicely :-)
So I enthusiastically spill my idea, and he comes back with:
Him: “Ok, who is the target market? Who will be your average visitor? Will these visitors already own a business? Will they be wanting to learn how to make a business? Will these be eCommerce professionals? WHY are they coming to this site?”
Me: “Umm…I haven’t thought about that.”
And THERE inlays my problem: I didn’t think about all that stuff!
He then started to help me flesh out those answers.
It turns out I COULD do this project, but it would be better named something like “Quadruple My Business.” Basically, some name that implies a benefit.
I could then tailor the site to current online business owners who want to increase their business, and then show them how I did it myself with a live example.
I could also tailor the site to people who want to start their first online business, and show them with a live example.
Basically, instead of telling a nice (yet useless) story about House of Rave, I could teach people (useful) marketing techniques to increase their ecommerce businesses.
All of a sudden I had a working idea, but it wasn’t sexy as what I imagined in my head.
I somehow only thought of all the benefits The Million Dollar Project would bring me, but left out how it would enrich OTHERS. D’oh.
The excitement from the idea quickly faded, and I then recognized the amount of work that would go into it. I don’t mind the work, but it should be moderately exciting to me so I focus on it and stick with it long enough to see it succeed.
And so the legacy of The Million Dollar Project came and went without ever seeing the light of day (except the domain which I needlessly spent $250 on).
But perhaps this is a GOOD thing.
Instead of getting involved with a hardly-thought-out idea, I can spend my time focusing on more profitable things.
Learning how to slay the Hype Machine dragon has allowed me to focus on actual profitable projects rather than every hare-brained scheme that pops into my head.
When a kid says, “I wanna be a doctor”, the process usually goes:
He graduates high school
Enters college and enrolls in some form of pre-med program
Goes through years of biology and other doctor-ish courses
Goes into the hibernation known as “studying for the MCAT”
Applies to medical school
Somewhere along that path 90% (actually I just pulled that statistic out of my ass)….but a LARGE percent of these “I wanna be doctors” never make it.
Most of them soon realize they either hate biology, they’re not smart or hardworking enough to score high on the MCAT…or that they don’t want to work so hard to be a doctor after all.
Unfortunately these realizations often come late in college…when they’ve already spent much of their college career attempting to be a doctor.
Well I’m Indian….which either means I’m destined to become a doctor or an engineer. Both admiral….however as a high school student I couldn’t REALLY tell if I truly wanted to become one of these…simply not enough experience.
However, I was a fortunate little lad…my high school offered this class where you leave school for three hours every other day to shadow different types of doctors. This is nearly HALF the school day you get to dress up in scrubs and follow different doctors as they make their rounds.
This was a two year course…the first year being preparation, the second year actually following doctors.
The 2nd year came around, and it was SO COOL as a student being able to leave everyday in my car (we had special passes which let us freely walk around school). We got to shadow an allergists, dentists, general practitioners, sports medicine doctors and a lot more.
By shadowing, I mean we followed them everywhere, including their rounds with patients. Some places occasionally made us do bitch work (like organizing patient records)…but most places really made us feel we worked in the medical industry.
This was a REMARKABLE OPPORTUNITY for myself, because it made me realize something:
I DIDN’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT BEING A DOCTOR!!
I quickly found out I had the same amount of empathy for others as a crotchety old man.
Have you ever had a great doctor who takes lots of interest in your medical problem? Yea…that WOULD NOT have been me.
While I enjoyed leaving school for this, I really detested the whole aura of being in a medical facility. I never think, “I’d love to spend 12 hours a day in a place filled with a bunch of sick people!” It’s just not my thaang.
95 year old man slowly dying a painful death in a hospital? PUT THIS GUY OUT OF HIS MISERY! Why spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep him alive? What’s the end goal of that?
Sometimes I just didn’t understand what the point was. If I ever became a doctor, I’d be more like Dr. Kevorkian.
I must admit certain specialties such as the allergist had it pretty decent: He had very normal hours, mostly healthy patients (with the exception of runny noses), a family-like community of patients and staff, and roughly $400,000/year in profit. He basically owned a business he could eventually sell. That was neat….
However the monotony of this got to me. He enjoyed what he did….but it’s not something I would want. It simply didn’t interest me.
It was around this time I started getting very much into business and reading about business men whom I admired. The way they made money was scalable….the way doctors made money was much like how the janitor made money: by the hour.
This did not appeal to me.
A doctor has a very likely chance of making a great living for the rest of their working lives….but a business person can either go broke, do as well, or make it REALLY big….without necessarily having to be present all the time.
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.