5 Profit Lessons From Silicon Valley

For as long as I can remember I’ve always had a propensity to teach. Even before I started school, I somehow knew that a teacher stood out the front and talked while everyone else listened. I wanted to be the person others listened to. As a four year old it had nothing to do with money or profits, I just enjoyed teaching. So I would line up all my dolls and teach them. Inevitably, they were naughty (I don’t know where I picked up such a foreign concept from 😉 so I would smack their tiny, plastic bottoms!

Two weeks ago I spent time in Silicon Valley and I didn’t sit in a classroom, but I learned lessons that I’d never heard anyone else talk (or write) about.

  1. Size Matters
    The most overwhelming first impression was how HUGE everything was. I felt really tiny all of a sudden, like a four year old in a world of adults. Google, Facebook and Apple all have massive properties. I knew they were global companies and that their headquarters would be big. But there is not just one large building, there is campus after campus, building after building, facility after facility. At Google for example, you’ll need a cycle to move between all the locations which sprawl out over Mountain View.
    Creating a sense of scale, helps profits by giving your customers confidence.
  2. Security Matters
    These tech giants are not just concerned with keeping their software secure, they all have a very visible army of security guards physically protecting their properties. You are not allowed into any of their buildings. You are instructed to just take a photo and move on. And it’s even more pronounced in Silicon Beach (in Los Angeles’ Venice Beach area). Google’s offices don’t even have a logo. And Snapchat’s headquarters has no logo, frosted glass windows and security guards.
    Creating a sense of security, helps profits by giving your employees a sense of confidence.
  3. Real Estate Matters
    Google especially, and to a lesser extent Facebook and Apple have leveraged their income streams into successful investments in real estate. Google owns much more real estate than the offices that their more than 50,000 employees turn up to every weekday. In fact, they own more than 10% of all real estate in the neighborhood. There are places you can stand in Silicon Valley where Google is the owner of everything as far as the eye can see.
    Creating a sense of permanency, helps profits by giving your investors a sense of confidence.
  4. Education Matters
    Facebook is the favourite choice of the big three, especially among women, who want to work with Sheryl Sandberg, and everyone who wants a healthy work/life balance (the sprawling employee carpark is empty on the weekend). Apparently, for every one job opening at Facebook, an average of 10,000 applications pour in. Apple has a reputation for attracting those who love design and want to be the best, but different… even though there is a lot of pressure and constant deadlines. Google has high pressure deadlines too. I was told that “Push” is the favourite word of managers there. And the carpark is sadly full on the weekend. But it is the place you go, if you want to get the best training and development. The Education you receive at Google is *almost* as good as students receive at the nearby campus of Stanford University. All three of the giants benefit from this local pool of students where the campus is packed with motivational banners saying things like “Change the world!”
    Creating a culture of learning helps profits by giving suppliers a sense that you will continue growing.
  5. Location Matters
    I once read that the quickest way to acquire any skill is by association. I’ve read many times that you are the sum of the five people who most associate with. That’s why where you locate yourself matters. Silicon Valley has an entire ecosystem of potential customers, employees, investors, suppliers and entrepreneurs. You can go into just about any cafe (and savvy journalists and bloggers often do) and hear conversations about technology, business and growth. In this environment becoming profitable is so easy it can happen almost accidentally .
    Choosing a strategic location helps profits by giving owners a sense that you are surrounded by profits. And I learnt that teachers don’t always have a classroom: sometimes just associating yourself with success, can teach you much more than a smack on a plastic bottom.

If you want to chat about how you can apply these lessons from Silicon Valley unicorns to your specific business, go to the start working with Shaz page.

Silicon Valley tech tour


Master of Scale

One of my favourite podcasts is Masters of Scale, where Reid Hoffman (Venture Capitalist and co-founder of Linked In) interviews entrepreneurs about how they scaled.

There’s lots of great lessons every episode, that I won’t try to recreate here – it’s worth a listen.

But it always reminds me what a BIG thinker God is.

No, for all the nations of the world
    are but a drop in the bucket.
They are nothing more
    than dust on the scales.
He picks up the whole earth
    as though it were a grain of sand.
Isaiah 40:15

Just picture that for a minute…. God picking up the whole earth as though it were a grain of sand balancing on the tip of his finger….

The truth is the journey for most entrepreneurs involves growing your capacity so that things that used to seem way too big for you to handle, become so easy to handle, it’s like flicking a grain of sand off the end of your finger.

You have to stretch your mindset, exercise your faith, grow your skills, enlarge your ability to deal with finances and much more.

The area that I see first-time entrepreneurs struggle the most is with people skills. Leading a team of people ain’t easy. It just ain’t. But the way you steward people is often the most limiting factor in the scale your business grows to.

Allow your team members to be late, annoying, sick, make mistakes, lacking in talent and disappointing. Because guess what? That’s how you got here, too.

I’m really good at spotting talent. And I’m good at recruiting and developing talent. Mainly because of all the mistakes I’ve made in these areas!

One of the best techniques I’ve learnt, is to look at the other person and repeat in your mind “We need you”. And smile. We are one body. We need each other. Any other mindset is truly a deception.

Often, the reason people seem to be “more trouble than they’re worth” is because they’re not yet in the right spot. An eye is really useful when it’s helping you to see. But if you’re trying to walk on it, it will seem really painful just to be around.

Jesus knew that leaving the 99 to recover the 1 was the only way to ensure His flock would grow into a multi-generational, global flock. We need that cheeky little sheepy baa baa on board. We’re all the better for being together.

So it might be time to do a team audit. Is everyone displaying they’re worth? Are they providing value to others? If they’re not, it’s up to you to unlock their value. How? Usually, by assigning them to a new project, a new team, a new context. How do you choose that new role?

Wait for it. It will shock you. Ask THEM!

And then LISTEN to them. And give them honest appreciation and feedback.

The writer of Hebrews doesn’t say “Don’t neglect the gathering of yourselves together…” He says “Don’t neglect the assembling of yourselves together.” Hebrews 10:25

If you’re the key to growth (and you are), your role is to approach the organisation like an orchestra. You have to make sure all the violinists are sitting together so they’re not poking out the trumpet player’s eye every time they play.

Even if growth isn’t your role, if you are answering phones but you’d rather be blogging or coding a website, help yourself, your organisation, and everyone else around you, by letting them know. There maybe some timing issues, but the sooner you let your team leader know, the sooner you can become a functional part of the assembly.

Success is funny. It’s like putting together a Swiss watch. Your assembly shouldn’t have even one screw loose. You might need to use tiny tweezers and a magnifying glass. Assemble it to be a finely honed machine – not losing a second – “working like clockwork”.

That’s the irony of thinking big. Scale is about being able to handle the whole earth as if it is a tiny, delicate, detailed grain of sand. Getting the details right is what allows you to go global at staggering speed.

Jesus commissioned us to go into all the WORLD = BIG thinking….
and make disciples = SMALL doing.

On the first episode of the Masters of Scale podcast, the co-founder and CEO of global growth Godzilla AirBnB, Brian Chesky, summed it up this way “In order to scale you have to do things that don’t scale”.


Fastest Path To Online Profits

Many of you know me personally and know my story; how I started my Internet business the first month that commercial internet traffic became legal in Australia, in June 1994, and have been earning money online ever since.

But this blog post is about what I would do if I was just starting out today (9 January 2017).

If I was starting now, the choices might seem a little overwhelming. I know a lot of people in the industry – I know who is credible, and I know there are a lot of sharks out there. I’m also pretty savvy about the tricks the shysters use to “borrow credibility” and I’m diligent about researching and actually testing before I recommend anything to anyone. But I’m not going to pretend I haven’t thought that something looked good, only to be disappointed.

That’s part of the value of what I do – I invest my own time, money and experience in finding, testing and comparing the results of online solutions – and help others avoid the time-wasters, money-wasters, and experience makers 😉

When I first started, especially, but even today, some of the systems and tools have cost thousands of dollars or require ongoing monthly costs in the hundreds. The learning and time investments on some of these systems are horrendous. Just the other day someone asked me to commit to working everyday for the next hundred days. I don’t know about you, but I don’t commit more than three months of my life to total strangers.

Forget that! I’m not afraid of commitment, but I want them to prove themselves, and their solution first, before it costs me three months of my life I won’t get back. And I certainly don’t invest thousands of dollars in unproven solutions. After all, Jesus never said to the hungry multitude, if you keep coming here everyday for the next hundred days, and you invest hundreds of dollars, then I’ll feed you some loaves and fishes.  No! Jesus provides instantly, without qualification, for multitudes – and that’s the kind of kingdom principles I love helping people with.

Other online “opportunities” require a lot of preparation time. You have to think, research and write your business plan; including identifying your target market or ideal customer, developing your strategy, creating marketing funnels, adopting a profitable business model. And that’s just the planning part.

Then you have all the practical things that can take days if not weeks and months just to learn how to do, let alone actually do:

  • choosing and registering a business name
  • establishing a bank account
  • obtaining a tax file number
  • buying a domain name
  • web hosting
  • blogging platform
  • email address
  • facebook page
  • twitter/instagram/snapchat/pinterest/tumbler account …

This can all get a bit overwhelming. And quite frankly, it can turn what looked like a profit at the beginning, into a loss.

The good news is you don’t have to do any of that – and you can start creating online income today even if you have no knowledge, no experience, and no money.

When I first started, I had lots of hard slog occasionally interrupted by major financial breakthroughs.

The first night that I earned $10,000.00 in one night – was the first big breakthrough. At the time my father, who was a Research and Development Engineer at the prime of his career, was earning $32,000 yearly.

The realisation that I had earned in one night what it took him nearly four months to earn, blew my mind. Here I was, still in my twenties.

My pay packet for the day was more than 100 times what his was.

I started doing calculations on how quickly I could earn a six figure income – in ten days!!

Then God stretched my thinking… if I could have a $10k pay day one day, why couldn’t I do that everyday?

A few quick sums later and the calculator was staring me in the face with an annual income of $3.65 million … all online, without leaving my home.

That’s what got me really excited – and helped me earn my first million dollars online so quickly – and why more than twenty years later, I’m still excited about helping people do what I did.

But my friend Phil made me realise recently, that just because it’s all so easy for me now, doesn’t mean it’s easy for everyone else. We were in a bar at the marina, on a hot day between Christmas 2016 and New Years Day 2017, having a few refreshing drinks, and I told him one quick technique I use to make money online. Before we left the bar, within a few short MINUTES, he’d made money online too. He kept saying “this works!”

To say he was happy is an understatement. I had to resist saying “I told you so” … I was about to tell him he should read my blog more often, when I realised I hadn’t even shared this technique with you, my lovely blog followers!

So -to help you avoid the hard slog parts, and skip straight to the financial breakthrough parts – here’s what I’m going to share with you:

  • The fastest path to make online profits without any knowledge, experience or money.
  • How to make your first $200 online TODAY
  • Top 3 tips for making it even more profitable
  • How Google, Facebook, Apple, Uber and AirBnB have created Billions of Dollars of wealth for their owners
  • The number one online profits mistake – and, more importantly, how to avoid it
  • The only decision that matters
  • Pay Day Timeline – when EXACTLY you’ll get your money to spend

In Psalm 112: 3 the Psalmist tells us “Wealth and riches will be in his house,
And his righteousness endures forever.” Righteousness and riches often go together, but this scripture also teaches us that riches and real estate also go together. You have wealth and riches in your house. The simplest, cheapest and by far the fastest path to unlock the wealth that is already in your house just waiting for you to profit from is through AirBnB.com.

If you prefer to watch rather than read, I did a quick live YouTube video (feel free to share on your social media, too). Fastest Path to Online Profits.

There are no startup costs at all. It’s free! They do take a tiny commission when you make money, but you can benefit from all their global systems for free before then.

I’m a firm believer that ANY lack can be overcome with partnership. The bible says that those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing. (Psalm 34:10). Most of the people I help don’t need more money, they just need a good partner. So I teach them how I partner with profit giants – multi-national, multi-billion dollar, global, online companies who provide online profit systems to help you prosper.

If you make just one room in your house available for booking at just, say, $30 a night – all it takes is one person to book for one week and you have made $200 online income TODAY. One week is my average length of stay – but I’ve had guests love it so much that they’ve wanted to stay longer. One guest even wanted to stay for six months!

I have a restriction now so that guests can only stay for a maximum of two weeks because I can make more money in other ways and I like having maximum freedom with my time. But that’s another great thing about this solution is that you have total flexibility and control over your listing. You can literally turn it on and off at any time just like a money tap. If you want cashflow turn it on, if you want to stop it for awhile, just “snooze” your listing to switch it off for a while. It takes less than 30 seconds to make those changes. And, remember, both Phil and I got our first booking within moments.

Everyone wants to go on holidays and find somewhere to stay – this is not something you have to get all “salesy” and “pushy” about. Those are hunter strategies where you go out and chase down your prey. This is the kind of technique Jesus said He would teach his mates – fishing strategies – where you have to think about what is attractive to a market of hungry fish? What can I offer that they will enjoy taking?

With AirBnB not only are there no startup costs, a global network, and no selling involved, there is a really small learning curve. If you can fill out a form and upload a photo, you can start using AirBnB. Either download the app to your mobile phone or open the browser on your desktop and you are half-way there already.

But the biggest benefit by far is the speed with which you can make your first money online. Not only can you do it from home, you can also do it in a few minutes from a bar at the marina when you are in the post-Christmas relaxation mode. Or without leaving home, whilst you’re still in your pyjamas before you’ve even had breakfast. It’s fast!

Look, it’s not the perfect online business. For a start, you don’t own or control the business platform. But if I was starting out, even if I intended building my own business platform, I would start here, and let AirBnB provide cash flow my future, ideal business. Your future, ideal business will definitely need cash, and even if you intend to get investors, they will want to see that you know how to fund your business without them.

If you want to avoid the number one online profit mistake, you need to hear something you probably don’t want to hear; Your future, ideal business is very risky. All ideas are. Most new businesses are. AirBnB is proven to work. Jesus taught his mates to make sure they were building on a firm foundation, by doing (Matthew 7:24) – not a risky, unproven, unstable idea. You’ll probably surprise yourself at how much you can learn by actually doing – creating online income – than you will by dreaming.

Too many people make the mistake of waiting for the ideal business. They want all the details before they start. Wise old Solomon said “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” (Eccl 11:4, The Message). A good plan today, is better than a perfect plan tomorrow. When God called Abraham he told him to go to the land He would show him (Genesis 12:1)… He didn’t even tell Abraham where he was going; He just wanted him to start!

Another common mistake people fall for is trying to be a solo-preneur on their own. Firstly, it takes way too long to do it all on your own.

Time is the asset. You only get one life.

SYSTEM stands for Save YourSelf Time, Energy, Money. If you don’t have a system, I can guarantee that you are wasting time, energy and money. Don’t do that!!!

The smart solo-preneurs partner with profit giants like Google, YouTube, Facebook, Apple, Uber and, of course, AirBnB, who have created billions of dollars for their owners. If you are still thinking of Facebook as “such a time-waster”, can I encourage you to see these companies with fresh eyes? They are valued at billions of dollars by the stock market because they provide real commercial value – they have global online profit systems that help millions and millions of people create wealth and riches. And they do it by letting you get started quickly. Did you know you can learn some things just through association? The bible says “He who walks with wise men will be wise” (Proverbs 13:20). If you want to be profitable, you’d be wise to partner with profit creators to build your own profits.

You can even make AirBnB more profitable. You can start building a list of contact details from your guests. Follow them on social media, ask them to introduce you to more of their friends and build a global network of people who like and trust you and can tell you how you are helpful to them. You can provide tours and experiences and earn money from those other services on AirBnB now too – so you don’t even need to have a room to rent out!

There’s other ways you can amp up your AirBnB profits, too. Contact your guests before they arrive and give them all the information they need. You can add value by letting them know about tourist facilities and fun things to do in your area. I always try to welcome my guests in person. And then I take them on a quick walk down to the beach and marina to showcase the natural beauty in my backyard. I leave a tourist brochure to showcase tourism partners in the region, like where they can see the koalas and kangaroos, go on a whale-watching cruise or hire a kayak and so on.

On their first morning, I do a quick check with them to make sure they have everything they need to enjoy their stay. There’s often little things, like they forgot to pack a toothbrush, that you can help them with quickly and cheaply and thoughtfulness makes all the difference to how they feel about their stay.

Okay, I know this has been a long read, but I wanted to give you as much value as I can. And we’ve arrived at the only decision that really matters: Which bank account do you want your income to go into? Make sure you check and double-check the account details you give to AirBnB, because all of this post has been about this result – getting money into your bank account. Do you want to put it into a personal account or a business acount? Do you want to pay it straight off the mortgage? Or credit card? Or put it in a savings account so you can go on holidays yourself and check out how other AirBnB hosts are using the platform to create profits?

You can even use part of your harvest of income, to sow seeds that will improve and increase your AirBnB business. (If you want some tips on increasing your online profit systems, I talk about that in my latest book, Atmosphere).

So once AirBnB have advised they’ve sent the first deposit to your account, watch that account like an eagle, until your money is there. The good news is, the sensationally awesome news is, that once you can see it, you can spend it.

The timeline to pay day looks like this:

Day 0 (today): Add your Listing, get your first booking, AirBnB tell you how much you’ve earnt.

Day 1 (tomorrow): You could be checking in your first guest as early as tomorrow – especially, if it is a busy tourist season when you first add your listing.

Day 2: AirBnB will advise that they have sent payment to your bank account.

Day 3 – Day 10: Payment might arrive on Day 3, but if there are weekends and/or public holidays, the longest I’ve had it take is a week from when they send it.

If you think this online profit system could work for you, it’d be really cool to leave a comment. Comments from my global readers are part of the feedback I analyse to help me decide how I can help more people. If I get a lot of comments, I’ll do more in-depth posts on how to make a profit online – not just the starting strategies like this, but the more advanced strategies that are a lot more profitable. So your comments will be helping future readers, too.

It’s over to you.

Go make a profit (after you’ve left a comment)! 🙂




7 Bible Verses for Business Owners

  1. Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
    Not everything that has a beginning is great, but everything that is great has a beginning – make sure 2017 is beginning with God.
  2. Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
    If things aren’t working for you, it’s probably because they’re not working together. Make sure your systems create synergy.
  3. 1 Samuel 21:8 And David said to Ahimelech, “Is there not here on hand a spear or a sword? For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.”
    Speed is often a better weapon than a sword or a spear. Make sure your systems can respond to changing circumstances with haste.
  4. Luke 19:23 ‘Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’
    Jesus suggested to even the wicked servant that he should have used systems where profit grows instantly, continuously and effortlessly, like interest at the bank.
  5. Deuteronomy 8:18 “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”
    Simply remembering can create wealth. Make sure your systems include reminders so the important things don’t get forgotten and do create wealth.
  6. Habakkuk 2:2 Then the Lord answered me and said:
    “Write the vision

    And make it plain on tablets,
    That he may run who reads it.”
    Making things plain is powerful – it can turn readers into runners. Ensure your systems bring simplicity, not complexity, so they power up your profits.
  7. Isaiah 48:17 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.
    God could have chosen any method of helping us to profit, but He chose to be the teacher; the fastest path to profit is teaching. Make sure your systems include leading others so they know the ideal way to go.

The ideal way to get more bible-based resources to create prosperity for business owners, leaders and managers, is to apply now to start working with Shaz Jones in 2017.


Costly Technology

Seventy-Five years ago, America was attacked, by Japanese forces, at Pearl Harbor. The USS Arizona alone lost 1,177 souls. The attack cost a total of 2,403 American lives. A further 1,178 were injured.

I visited Pearl Harbor earlier this year and of all the many lessons we can learn from this terrible tragedy, the story of technology perhaps tells the wider story of America’s entry into World War II the best.

Code was a big part of the wartime strategies. Yes, there were coding and decoding machines very similar to what we would now recognise as computer coding. But there were also simple codes – like secret names for operations.

One of the most effective codes of the day, was essentially a code of conduct – silence. The strategic non-use of radio technology, helped to deliver the crucial element – surprise.

“Tora! Tora! Tora!” was like the facebook status of the day – a signal to everyone in the know that the goal had been achieved.

The biggest technology failure, and it was much worse than this year’s census debacle by IBM, was the failure associated with the new technology of the day – radar. The US Army was only using it for 3 hours a day, and because it was a new technology all the operators were inherently inexperienced. Even so, the operators trusted their new tool and told management of their concerns – but the manager dismissed their warnings. It was his first day on the job.

The ability to escape detection was one of the key “success” factors in the Japanese attack. And it is still a strategy widespread in technology wars today. For all of the blatant attacks by hackers that you hear about, there are many more which go undetected, let alone publicized.

One of the key lessons of Pearl Harbor is the recognition of an investment in technologies that aid in detection. Radar had been considered “a toy” before the attack; there isn’t an airbase anywhere in the world that would operate without it today.

Technology investors and managers today would do well to remember these lessons that came at such a high cost.

Whilst radar was a disruptive leap of innovation, it was a less radical incremental technology which did the actual damage. Pearl Harbor was too shallow for traditional torpedoes. But the Japanese had modified conventional torpedoes by designing a fin, which turned them into brutally effective shallow-water aerial torpedoes.

It’s always less risky to make a proven technology better, so don’t discount the power of a simple design tweak – it could mean a simple strategic advantage – or a matter of life and death for thousands of souls.

And in that context, as well as the more mundane day-to-day uses of technology, we’d all do well to remember the best technology decision you can make is summed up in the original slogan of tech giant, Google; “Do no evil”.




Growing 120x in 12 weeks

Multiplying is something I love. I think, actually, that’s what is at the core of my fascination with technology.

My current project involves working with an organisation that grows from about 800 people to 97,000 people in just 12 weeks.That’s a pretty rapid and radical multiplication!

Growing an organisation by more than one hundred times in less than three months is a strange mix of excitement, frustration and chaos.

Oh and did I mention that even though we are increasing the people by 12,000% we’re only increasing the budget by 50%?

Systems that are designed to serve 800 people don’t work well when you suddenly try to make them serve 97,000 people.

But if I could only change one thing in this whole organisation to make the best outcome for the least effort, I wouldn’t change the budget, I’d change just this …


I made a video about this 7 years ago …

  • how queences can help you do impossible things
  • how queences can bring order into chaos
  • how queences can explain why two people doing the same things with the same resources can have radically different results




Change – How does it happen?

change brendon burchard

One of the things I love most about Australia is that we are open to change. Whether it be business, technology or politics we’re keen to be early adopters. This year we got our fifth Prime Minister in as many years.

Change can be a great thing. One of the things Jesus fought against was tradition.

Recently, I watched a video from Brendon Burchard. I always get at least one great insight even when it’s just his sales pitch.

This insight, on change, has been changing me – changing the way I look at my life, and the lives of others.

Change happens either by something new coming into your life, or by something new coming out of YOU.

What are you doing to invest in you becoming more?

To use a cliche, do something your future self will thank you for.

Create more, try a new food, switch up your schedule.

Meditate, pray, learn. Intentionalise change from within.

Influence usually flows from contribution. What are you doing for others?

How can you change to do it better, quicker, cheaper, for more people? I chose a shorter blog post, hoping it will serve those who are so busy at this time of year.

Who knows? One small change might change your life in a big way.

You might even end up being our next Prime Minister. We’re due for another change next year.


Top 10 Ways to InTENsify your Social Media Marketing Profits


I often get asked what is the best way to increase social media traffic? (I think it’s the wrong question, but I’ll get to that later).

So here’s some tips for increasing your “traffic” (or number of “hits” you get) for your social media posts.

  1. Competition
    The quickest way to increase your traffic is to hold a contest of some sort. People love to win stuff. Also, it gives your customers a message that you want to get stuff to them not just get money off them. The best competitions are either for a high priced item (like a holiday – if you win one, can I come too?), or for a lower priced item that everyone can use (like some movie tickets or a restaurant voucher – again, can I come too?). If you only try one strategy from this whole post, do this.
  2. Completion

    Another really simple strategy is to ask people to complete a sentence. For example, “My favourite chocolate is … (complete the sentence)”. If it was my social media post, I would include a picture of Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate – but others will like Lindt balls, or Ferroro Rochers etc. And remember, don’t make it just about your product or service, make it about something everyone has an opinion on and you’ll get a lot more traffic. In other words, make your social media, social!

  3. Expression

    11659363_10153107808550924_8293141580159518414_nHere’s a photo from today of me with Executive General Manager of Channel Ten, Russel Howcroft. He is also one of Australia’s favourite advertising gurus and part of the Gruen Transfer team on my old employer, Australian Broadcasting Corporation television.

It doesn’t matter whether you are using text, emojis, infographics, photos or videos, always try and include a face in your post. If you walk into a newsagent and browse all the hundreds of different types of magazines, most of the covers have a face on them. It doesn’t matter whether the topic is gardening, motor cycles, cooking or celebrity gossip – we are created to respond to facial expressions before we can even speak. Smiles sell. 🙂

4. Emotion

Have you seen the new movie Constipation?
It hasn’t come out yet.

Okay, that may not be very funny, but I want it to remind you that even if you are only using text, make it moving (see what I did there?). We always (yes, always) make buying decisions with our emotions, then we later try and justify them with logic. So make a decision with each post about how you want your customer to feel.

5. Identification

Have you ever felt like someone has completely misunderstood you? You were trying to be nice and they took it as though you were being nasty? It’s a horrible feeling. I recently posted a picture on my friend’s facebook page to give her a laugh. She took it the wrong way and got offended. I was devastated. Has that ever happened to you?

One of the most effective things you can do to get traffic is to identify with your audience. Show them that you identify with them – their struggles, their dreams, their successes. Your aim should be to make your viewer say “me too!”.

6. Categorisation

Don’t be afraid of hashtags. If you want more traffic, they are your best friend. They can help you multiply the number of views with very tiny tweaks that take virtually no effort at all.

Okay, I’m about to shock you. And it will really help skyrocket your social media success.

If you use the hashtag #success on Instagram you will join a club of over 10 million people. If you instead decide to use #successtips you will join a club with barely 13,000. In other words, you’ll boost your audience by 76,923% just by using the right hashtag! You can thank me later.

7. Diversification

There’s more than one social media platform. You might prefer facebook, but if you want younger customers, you should be on snapchat, too. If your product is highly visual and aimed at mothers, you’ll definitely want to be on Pinterest.

I am getting lots of new leads from video apps lately – Periscope and Blab being my top two. Six months ago I wasn’t even using either of these! Open an account on a new platform today, and watch how your traffic grows and changes.

8. Action

Okay, I said earlier, that I think “how do I get more traffic?” is the wrong question.

It’s fine getting all this traffic, but unless you get them to take action, it really is pointless. Always have a goal in mind. Do you want to increase your likes? comments? followers? shares? sales? profits? Whatever it is, be clear what it is.

It might just be building rapport or expanding the hashtags to reach new audiences. You don’t have to always state it explicitly, but unless you are clear what you want your followers to do, the chance of them doing it is really slim.

9. Acquisition

I’m a big capturer (I know it’s not a word but ‘captor’ sounds like ‘velociraptor’ and that makes me feel like a dinosaur).

Today, I captured photos of my favourite moments at the studio. I also captured my favourite learnings by taking notes. And lastly, I captured contact details by swapping business cards.

If you’ve done everything to get traffic to your social media accounts and you haven’t got a way of capturing their details, you’re really wasting your time and efforts.

You don’t want to go to a party, meet the perfect partner, and then have no way of seeing them again. Become a capturer! At least ask for an email address so you can chat with your customers when they’re not on social media.

10. Conversion

I’m not talking about a Damascus Road experience where you suddenly see the light and become a Born Again Believer (if you’re intelligent enough to read this whole blog, I’m assuming you’ve already done that anyway). I’m talking about converting all of your social media marketing – traffic, likes, followers, comments, shares and sales – into something far more valuable; profits.

Profits are not about the money you make, it’s about what you keep.

How do you do social media marketing in a way that allows you to keep more profits? Now, that’s a far better question! If you’d like me to answer it in an upcoming blog, you’ll have to like this post, leave a comment about your favourite tip and follow the blog (so you’ll receive it via email and we can take the party back to your inbox ;-).

Pitch Perfect – How to Ask for what you want

startup pitch to investors

Warning: Longer post than normal ensues…

None of these thoughts are my own. I went to a pitching seminar at the Innovation Centre of Western Australia recently. I found it helpful, so I thought I’d share my notes with you.

——————— Presentation #1 ————————————————

Sam Birmingham – startup coach at Pollenizer Global and founder of Startup Weekend.

Startup is not about a business plan. It’s an iterative process – everything is a learning loop. Get your product out to the market and start learning.

Uses tools like Lean Startup, Lean Canvas etc.

Start at the problem. Don’t get wedded to a solution.

Problem –> Product, USP, metrics etc

Market –> Customer.

Constraints bring out the best in people.

Do a “twitter pitch”. Confine your concept to less than 140 characters.

e.g. “If Apple designed Salesforce” or “Google Analytics for Offline Stores”.

Gaddie pitch – confine yourself to answering 3 questions, in this order:

1. You know how …. What is the problem you are solving? Help them feel the pain of it so they know you understand it.

2. Well, what we do is …. Introduce the solution. Describe how you solve the pain.

3. In fact …. Provide some strong validation as to why you’re so awesome. Blow them away with a snippet of information e.g. “we’ve connected more than 1,000 people to jobs in the last 6 months”.

Universal Startup Pitch Deck – a simple framework they designed to get some consistency in pitching. But it also helps you think through the strengths and weaknesses of your startup business.

  • Hi, I’m ……
  • from ….
  • The problem we’re solving is ….
  • Our solution is ….
  • We do this by….
  • This is a big opportunity because …  (feel free to get people excited!)
  • Our target market is …
  • Our customers are ….
  • We acquire customers by …
  • We make money by…
  • Our key competition is… (never say you don’t have competition – you must show you understand the market).
  • But we’re better because…
  • Our team is….
  • So far, we have ….
  • What we’ll do next is …
  • What we’re looking for is….

Did a demonstration using a new startup TechBoard (which is similar to Crunchbase and AngelList).

Note: Sam says acquiring Customers (not just users) is the most expensive part of any startup – never underestimate how much it will cost or how long it will take to get to profit.

——————— Presentation #2 ————————————————

Toby – now works with KPMG – formerly worked in Silicon Valley (Is a Cal Bears supporter), responsible for Billions of Dollars in deals.

Mr Right’s best pitch won’t work on Miss Wrong.

Whenever you pitch, make sure you understand your audience. Do your homework before hand if you can, if not, actually ask them questions before you start.

Pitching to get interest (a date) is different to pitching to get an offer (a marriage proposal). Know what you want – they might just say yes!

Different types of investors:

Seed Capital – usually from family, friends, banks – beg, borrow, & steal.

Angel Investors – usually wealthy individuals with higher standards than your family and friends.

Venture Capitalists – institutional investors who have to answer to their shareholders.

It’s not about who you are attracted to, it’s about who would be attracted to you. So look up their website and research them on Linked In, your network etc. Who have they invested in in the past? Who are they investing in right now?

Find a way to get introduced. You shouldn’t have to cold call, if you’ve done your research and networking right.

The Investor is only ever asking one question:
“Why should I invest in you?”

So, no matter what they ask, you should always answer THAT question. For example, even if they ask about current economic problems (e.g. interest rates, share price etc) you should answer “I’m so glad you asked this question, because actually we’re a solution to this problem because…” then tell them what they really want to know:

1. Do you have an experienced management team they can trust?

2. Is there a predictable customer demand (i.e. revenue stream)?

3. Does the product/technology solve a legitimate problem

4. What is the market size and competition

Know where you stand in regards to your:
1. Access to Capital

2. Access to Customers

3. Access to Talent

4. Brand

Other questions that you should think about (and have an answer to) will help them to answer “yes” to their main question.

  • Where did your startup come from?
  • What got you started?
  • Were you in the industry before?
  • Were you a consumer of the industry before?

Use Robert Cialdini’s laws of influence e.g. reciprocity, authority etc.

Have email templates ready to use that implement the Laws of Influence. e.g.:
“Given your interest in Uber and AirBnB, and the current market around this type of domestic-based solution in previously commercial markets, I thought you might be interested in 2015Jobs.com.au, Australia’s leading technology for private and domestic employment, as used by ….

Use Social Proof even when talking about your market e.g. “the market everyone is investing in at the moment”.

Talk about your future before it happens “2015Jobs is well-positioned for international market expansion…”

Elevate61 is an incubator to help people raise funds in the USA. Many USA investors aren’t allowed to invest beyond the borders of USA even if they really love your idea – so you need to be setup there to even start talking to them.

Energise is an accelerator in Australia – that has 12 supporting companies e.g. BHP, Shell, Worley Parsons etc – that will test and possibly use the products being developed by the mainly natural resources and energy startups.

The main thing he looks for in startups is self-awareness around coachability. You’re not able to be good at everything. So knowing your weaknesses can be a real strength.

Where is Success?

Beach Car Park

I don’t know if you have any strong feelings about car parks. But I do.

If I see a packed car park at my local beach, my heart sinks.

I only live a block away from the beach so I don’t drive to the beach. It’s not about getting a car park.

It’s about the fact that if the car park is full, there’ll be lots of people at the beach, and I enjoy the beach more when I have it all to myself, or there’s just one or two people there. Selfish, I know. Don’t judge me.

But the reverse is true when I go to church. If I see a full car park, my heart leaps. I enjoy church more when it’s packed to the rafters.

But this is not a blog post about car parks, it’s about venue theory.

Venue theory explains why given the same stimulus (a full car park), my response can be so radically different.

Venue theory says success happens somewhere. It’s about locating the most viable environment for success. It also helps explain why perfectly rational human beings will pay eleventy squillion dollars to watch a movie and eat popcorn in a theatre when they could see the same movie and eat popcorn at home for free.

More importantly, it explains how our customers arbitrage venue for value. In other words, it describes why certain things take off and certain things don’t (and never will).

And the fascinating insight is that venue has a lot more to do with success than creativity or marketing or technology – or a hundred other things you might think of.

Yesterday, one of my friends rang me with a stock tip. He told me to shift my money out of one stock I had, and put it into the stock he was suggesting. Today, I thought I’ll just check how the share market is doing, and in particular my investment in this one stock.

I was relieved to see that my stock had gone up 7% in a day. I wish it did that everyday – my money would double every fortnight! So I thought I’d check on the stock he had advised me to put my money into… it had gone up by more than 73% in a day. The only difference in my return on investment was not creativity or marketing or technology, it’s just that one venue was ten times more productive than another.

There’s a parable in the bible about a sower who sowed seeds. He did the same activity, with the same resources in 4 different venues. But only 1 venue proved successful. Venue was the difference between no result at all – and a return on investment of 10,000% in the same season.

Think about it. If I write something in my journal, the only person likely to ever read it is me.

But over four thousand people have read my blog.

Same activity. 4,000 times more successful. Venue is the only difference.

Would you make a small change to your venue if it could make you 4,000 times more successful?

Even on my blog, venue matters to leverage my success. I’ve setup my blog so that every post is also promoted via email, twitter and facebook simultaneously – in other words, with every post I am performing in 4 different venues at the same time.

Most of my blog readers, read posts on an iPhone or an Ipad. The number of people who are reading my blog on a desktop is miniscule. Unlike ten years ago, the desk is the least popular physical venue for my content now – many readers tell me they are on a train, or even in bed, when they read my blogs, books and magazine apps.

Right now, only 3% of digital magazines are downloaded on to the Android platform. So if you want success in digital magazines, and your magazine is not on Apple’s Newsstand, you’re in real trouble.

10 times as many apps are downloaded every day as are songs. So even if you are a musician, you can have a lot more success putting your music inside an app in the app store, than putting your song on iTunes.

Where is your success? It may be worth spending a few minutes alone in a beach car park thinking about that…. Hint: the venue may have less to do with where you are comfortable and more to do with where your customers are comfortable i.e. where they are already spending their free time.