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2016 year in review

2016 Year in Review: What was Hot and What was Not

As we’re quickly approaching Christmas this weekend and then onto the beginning of a New Year, I thought I’d go ahead and recap the story of where New Inceptions is now including some of our more popular posts and podcast episodes.

If you’re the type that celebrates the holidays, Happy Holidays to you and yours!

We’ll Start with Some Shout Outs:

But before I do, I want to make a shout out to a few people who have really helped New Inceptions grow this past year.

The Team – version 1.0:

This past year, I’ve been able to introduce there was a change of guard for the co-hosts of the Angles of Lattitude Podcast. When I first launched the show, I had a few friends on board as co-hosts that I thought were going to be adding value to the foreseeable future.

Well, life has a tendency to change very quickly. And many times those changes aren’t easy to predict where they’ll take folks. So just to keep you all in the loop of what has happened with my first group of co-hosts, here’s a current update:

  • Jon has graduated college and is now working for J.P. Morgan in Columbus, Ohio.
  • Brian is doing quite well with building lead funnels for medium sized companies.
  • Trin got a promotion at her job, which, I’m sure has given her plenty on her plate.

Thanks to these guys, I had a taste of the refreshing spin that having multiple voices could have on a business oriented podcast.

The Team as of 2016:

 

Laila Rahmatian

In January of 2016, I brought in Laila Rahmatian to be a co-host of mine. At the time, Laila, like me, had some struggles to embrace her new identity. In fact, in her interview, she mentioned that she still wanted to pursue her engineering career.

Much has changed for her this past year. She has fully embraced her role as The Fitness Astronaut and I’m proud to say that she is really becoming well adjusted with her new profession.

Ginger Kern

Thanks to Cam Adair, I was introduced to Ginger Kern. Ginger, founder of the Traveler’s Mindset, and guest on session 20, quickly became my go to person for anything travel lifestyle related and soon accepted a role as contributor. Her most recent spot was with Cam again in session 62. Look for bigger things from both Ginger and Cam in 2017.

Daniel Postma

One of the sessions Ginger was a co-host for was with Daniel Postma. At the time, I had no idea who he was other than a young serial entrepreneur who had done some pretty interesting things. It was actually during the show, that we realized one of those interesting things had been to shadow Dane Maxwell for month a few years back.

Daniel still continues to amaze me with his quick wit and his ability to just go out and talk to people he’s never met before. He has amazing knack to get to know people really quickly. And I think part of that comes from what Jesse Winton recently said about homeschooler’s having to reach out more to meet people than those of us who have gone a more traditional route.

Clay Green

Finally, I had the opportunity to meet and speak with Clay Green in July. Clay was someone that I had come to find out about once I posted my interview with Daniel – Daniel had actually interviewed Clay at one point.

Clay has only done a couple of shows with me, but you can tell that he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with in this new year as he has started a tour to connect with those around the country and inspire more people to live a life that isn’t so normal. You can find him via his site here.

Anyhow, a big thanks to these folks for coming on the show and being vital parts of the community.

 

The Best of New Inceptions – Blog Posts:

 

How to Start a Business with a Low Budget, Little Technology Access, Hardly Any Time, and No College Education

In my part of the country, the old mindset of “a formal education is the only pathway to success” is pretty prevalent. Many people have a habit of counting themselves out before they give themselves a chance to succeed.

In this post, I wanted to challenge that idea and others by answering the question “What kind of business can I start if I don’t have the money, skills, or technology to get it going?”

 

Do Yourself a Favor: Practice Just In Time Learning

One of the biggest mistakes that I’ve been doing ever since I wanted to start my own business was just listen to the experts regularly and take no action.

One of the primary goals of New Inceptions is to help others who want to start their own creative business finally be able to do so.

One thing that has helped me actually take action is by practicing Just in Time Learning. Barrett Brooks mentioned this quite a bit during his tenure at Fizzle.

 

Labeling Business Accomplishment: Find Your Place, Your Peers, and GROW Faster!

Another thing I’ve learned that is in relation to listening to experts is that many times those folks are giving advice to people who are readily able to put in the kinds of resources that they themselves place in their businesses. Case in point, Pat Flynn is the real deal when it comes to growing an online business. If it wasn’t for Pat, I wouldn’t have started my new journey after getting out of college.

However, he’s on a level where I just don’t see myself at yet. So I have to search for people who can help me fill in the dots between where he is now (where I want to be) and where I currently am for advice.

You should do the same.

 

How to Inexpensively Start a Podcast: Equipment and Software

I had the chance to try plenty of things this year. One of which was a new writing style for “How-To” posts. One of those posts was actually the first of a series of posts for how to make a podcast. I felt and continue to feel that podcasting is the number one thing I’m asked about and I felt that I needed to get some of my knowledge out there.

Because I’m continued to be asked about it, I’m currently in talks with some folks to bring my first course to you guys in 2017 which will be a podcasters roundtable on how they produce their shows.

 

The Best of New Inceptions – Podcast Sessions:

 

AoL 023: Recognizing the Delusion of Passion: Helping Millennials find True Personal Freedom with Mark Nathan

Not only did Laila and I have the chance to talk with one of my favorite speakers that really influenced me to where I am today, but I also had the opportunity to help him with his book launch!

In this chat, find out more about the book and Mark’s background.

 

AoL 034: Deadlines, Life Changes, & Learning on the Job at Fizzle.co with Steph Crowder

You guys know I love Fizzle and I owe quite a bit to it and it’s community to where New Inceptions is today. Here it from Steph what Fizzle can do for you and why she actually applied to become a member of the team there.

 

AoL 044: Getting Through Difficult Times and Busting the Myth of Overnight Success with Ashley Zahabian

Ashley is someone that I have to mention. She has a lot of stuff figured out and I think a lot of young Millennials can learn something from her attitude.

In this chat, she talks about how even though she seems like an “overnight success” it’s definitely not the case.

 

AoL 059: Touring Alaska and Teaching English by Rejecting the Menu with Drew Badger

Drew, like me, is originally from the midwest. But, unlike me, he did the atypical right out college.

He moved to Japan with just an interest and no knowledge of the culture or language in pursuit of something he wanted to find out more about.

Today he finds himself not only teaching English on YouTube, but helping others learn how to reject what they perceive as the bounds of their life.

 

A Building Year

All in all, 2016 has been a pretty awesome year. Lots of amazing guests on the show and I’ve met tons of folks who inspire me to continue pushing forward.

While I’ve seen great growth this year, we’ve also had a few growing pains. For one, we recently found out that Google wasn’t registering our site correctly most of the year. Apparently for most of the year iTunes wasn’t making it easy to find AND I was getting negative SEO from some bots out of Indonesia.

And two, let’s not forget to mention the email newsletter I started. Lots of mixed reviews from the first test sequence. I think every week was a little more than you all could handle for now. Perhaps once a month is better?

 

Take Action: How About You?

Before you go, I want to know how your 2016 went. What did you learn and what are you proud of?

Feel free to share one piece (please!) of content that you’re most proud of from this past year.

Make sure you add some words (keywords?) beyond the link so that all readers here can understand why you chose that particular piece.

Looking forward to seeing what all you’ve been up to this year!!

 

Becoming an Expert

Becoming an Expert: Taking Freelancing to the Next Level

In last week’s post, we discussed the answer to the age old question “What Should I Do with my Life?”

In the answer, I talked about how the best solution is to find out where you fit into the world. Meaning, you need to figure out where it is that you’re adding the most value.

In this week’s post, I’m going to add onto that by suggesting that everyone needs to start looking at themselves as at least a freelancer in our new economy and how you could capitalize on that.

I’m going to say it right now – in the future, jobs won’t be about working for a company. Instead, they’ll be geared towards working with that company.

In my chat with Dr. Joe Albano, we talked about how the employee mindset no longer works in today’s world. His reasoning was those people who can think outside of the box and act on their own are much more desirable than those who have to be told to do – and how to do – everything.

Automation is Happening Whether We Want It Or Not

According to Michio Kaku, there’s another reason why we need to get ourselves out of the traditional employee mentality that we’re all used to:

Automation.

Everywhere you look, you can see that what he’s saying is true. It’s been happening for several decades already in many of our industrial areas.

In fact, the most recent big news about automation happened just this past week when President-elect Trump nominated Andy Puzder as Secretary of Labor. If you don’t know Andy, let’s just say that he’s pretty favorable of automation in the fast-food industry.

But this shouldn’t be big news! Remember this scene from Back to the Future 2?

That movie came out in 1989. Talk about delayed!

Needless to say, I think it’s just a matter of time before automation in general changes everything up that we’re used to.

Automation is going to happen. It’s not a matter of if but when.

Adjusting to the New Economy: Freelancing

More automation means we’re going to see a lot more people out there looking to make an income in new ways.

The problem is, there’s only so many traditional jobs that those folks can have. And, as we heard from Michio, even those aren’t safe from automation.

So what do all those folks do that are out of work and looking for a paycheck?

Typically speaking, they become a freelancer.

They give themselves the freedom to work with multiple companies at once or one for a prolonged period of time as a contractor.

Whether or not they’re a consultant, an Uber driver, a Rover dog sitter, or a Airbnb host – freelancing is picking up. In fact, by 2020, 40% of American workers will be considered freelancers.

But Why Stop There?

Remember, Michio mentioned that those who are going to benefit the most from this new world are going to be those who engage in intellectual capitalism.

Again, these are people who use the following to do their job: creativity, imagination, leadership, analysis, telling a joke, writing a script or a book, or doing science.

Now, don’t get me wrong. You can be a freelancer and do work you love. But the one thing that many people don’t think about is that freelancers trade hours for dollars.

That’s not really leveraging the power of the internet.

The big companies I already mentioned (Uber, Rover, and Airbnb) do leverage it in a SaaS (Software as a Service) format.

There’s several ways of doing that, but one of the most common and easier methods is to simply bottle up your talent into little informational robots – or as they’re more commonly known –  books, audio programs, courses, and videos.

Having these products out there working for you will allow you build passive income streams so you won’t have to trade hours for dollars.

Don’t think you can call yourself an expert yet? Ha! An expert is only a person who knows more than their audience. You can be 10 steps ahead of them, or just 1. Either way, they can still learn from you. So that means that anyone can become one. It’s just a matter of putting your mind to it once you decide if it’s something you want to really pursue.

Are You Cut Out to Be an Expert?

The next question is this: are you made of the right material to be an expert? Is it something that you should be pursuing as part of your career? Cause you might have the knowledge, but if don’t have the correct mindset, then you’re not going to be too successful at it.

So to see if you have the right mindset, let’s see if this list from Brendon’s Burchard’s book, the Millionaire Messenger, vibes with you:

    1. You’re willing to do work based entirely on your passion and knowledge. You’re going to be the engine behind this train. Do you like helping people by being an educator?
    2. Your work activities center on “relating and creating.” This means that you focus creating products that are useful for your audience.
    3. You work anywhere and anytime, starting now. Armed with a laptop, phone, and a broadband connection to the web, you’re ready to work anytime, anywhere.
    4. You work with whom you want. It’s up to you to make your job as easy, fun, or complex as you want. This means that you can hire and fire any help you have as well as getting rid of annoying customers.
    5. Your promotions are based on your promotions. The great thing about this field is that if you make a product that is in demand, the hard part is going to be getting the word out there. Find out what people want and deliver, deliver, DELIVER!
    6. Your pay equals the value you deliver, not the hours you work. We already covered this one. But make yourself valuable and the products will work for you.
    7. You don’t need or want a big team. Eventually you’ll have to hire your own help to cover your own blind spots or to simply do the work that you shouldn’t be doing. However, as an expert, your team will be small. You’ll need help with media, marketing, and admin – and that’s about it.  This is not something where you need many bodies to do all kinds of work – so don’t get them involved until you need them. Also, starting out as a solopreneur might even prove to be beneficial so you can properly scale your business over time and create systems to help your future crew.
    8. You like using simple and inexpensive tools to achieve success. Each successful expert has basically had to go through the same path to become that expert. In the past, the jobs that needed to be done had to be done by the expert or by hiring out those jobs. In today’s world, many of those jobs can be done by simply, cheap, and often free online tools and software.
    9. You like the idea of making more income on your efforts than you could in any other industry. Instead of letting the robots work against you, you let them work for you. The more people you help, the higher value your work is perceived to have. The higher the value your work has – the more people will want it.

If you’re ok with all of these points, then you should look into becoming an expert at something that you could teach others about.

If you’re not ok with them, then you might want to consider doing something else. Maybe like building a software solution for a particular industry.

Action Steps:

So, you’re now aware that the expert industry exists. I’ve given you 9 criteria to help you determine if it’s something you might want to consider as a career.

If it does, then there’s a few things you can do next.

  1. Get Brendon’s book: The Millionaire Messenger. It goes deeper into what this world is like.
  2. Join us in The Expert Community and start networking with other like minded people.

If you feel like it’s not necessarily something that fits what you want to do, then there’s other options. There’s a total of 10 different online businesses you can pursue. Maybe something like The Foundation is in your future?

How to Inexpensively Start a New Podcast: Exporting and Distribution

In this third and final installment of this beginner’s podcast guide, I’m going to be discussing the final parts in starting your podcast: exporting and distribution. Of course, if you’re new to podcasting and are wondering what the other installments are about, you can find them here (Equipment and Software) and here (Planning and Production).

Also, just a reminder, we’re loosely using Pat Flynn’s 2012 video tutorial as the backbone of this tutorial. However, we’re focusing more on doing it for less than what Pat recommended at the time.

So let’s get started…

Let’s start with Pat’s video in where he shows how to export your podcast in Garageband:

Logic User Differences:

Again, I’m not sure if Pat still has his team use Garageband to produce the SPI podcast or not, but I do know that if you’re an audiophile – you’re probably using something a little more professional.

If you want to go the more professional route right out of the gate, Logic is a good choice. You’ll have to pay for it ($200 at the Apple Store), but you’ll definitely learn a lot more along the way about production – if you want to.

Again, Chase talks about them in his tutorial on Fizzle.co (that’s a link for free trial to Fizzle) because he uses Logic to produce the Fizzle Show.

But to save you some time, here’s the export settings that you’ll want to configure Logic to export or “bounce” your project to:

Logic Bounce Options

My Logic X Bounce Options

Now, when you do this, you’re going to have a rather large file still as you’re publishing to a raw audio format. Most podcasts are in mp3 format.

“Why not go with mp3 here?”, you ask.

Well, you could and I’m sure many people do. But in Chase’s video he explains that your audio is more than likely going to be in stereo if you export directly from here.

There’s nothing wrong with that if you like to have your audience feel like one person is on the left and another person is on the right and so on.

Like Chase, I prefer to have the audio in mono because it shrinks the file size of the final file by half.

Here are the settings that I use in Compressor ($50 via Apple) to shrink my show to small files (because it’s mono) but still reasonably good quality audio:

Compressor Settings

The settings I have for Compressor

You should know that Compressor is typically used for video files (specifically Final Cut Pro files) but you don’t have to have Final Cut for it to work.

Normalizing and The Levelator:

One of the things that Pat mentioned in his tutorial that he used to do is use the Levelator to bring all his voices and sounds to the same volume level.

It’s a great simple solution.

However, if your show is designed to have manual fade-ins and fade-outs, or you purposely alter the volume to censor cusses, or anything that changes the volume, then using the Levelator is not going to be your best choice. It will basically destroy all those fine tunings.

This has been my case.

I use Fade-ins and outs to transition from one part of the show to another. The Levelator destroys those transitions.

So for the longest time I’ve been struggling with making sure that everyone sounds good on multiple speakers. In my office, many of my shows sound great, but when I got them to my car which has a much different setting than my office, my side of the conversation would sound much fainter.

I think I’ve fixed that as of session 59. Per Chase’s advice via the Fizzle forums and Podcast Master Cody Boyce’s help, I’ve started altering the output level of the entire track. Hopefully this will be a welcome chance to those of you who listen in your cars as well as your headphones.

After Exporting but before Distribution

Tagging:

Ok, so getting back on track here. The next thing that Pat talked about was tagging your new mp3 file. (We’re at the 15:13 mark in the first video in the process if you’re wondering where we’re at.)

Only thing I’ll say here is that Macs have it easy because you can do it in iTunes. However, if you don’t want to get iTunes on your PC, you can use Mp3tag to do it. It’s free, but if you use it quite often, you might want to consider a donation. 🙂

Here are the tags that I use for my show (depending on who my cohosts are):

podcast-tags

Tags for the Angles of Lattitude Podcast

Artwork:

You probably noticed that as part of my tags, I have my “generic artwork”. Artwork is huge. You can’t forget it – and unfortunately, many podcasters do.

You want to make sure that you have some sort of generic piece that you’ll be able to post on all of your shows.

dane maxwell unplugged

Feel free to make personal cover art for your guests!

Pat used and continues to use one piece of artwork for his podcast. If he’s changed it since then, it wasn’t much.

That said, I change mine every show based on who I’m talking to. I give each one of my guests their own individual “cover art”. And when you have a template going like I do, it doesn’t take too much longer to add this personal touch.

 

The artwork that is in the tags is usually what the player will play in your listener’s player – unless it uses the generic artwork provided to the place where people are downloading your show from.

I know that you can’t change Stitcher and Google Play’s artwork as they overlay the generic artwork that you’ve chosen to register with them. On the other hand, iTunes, SoundCloud, and any player that actually downloads the file to your listening device, will more than likely use the artwork you provide for that particular file.

So my recommendation is definitely have a generic artwork image that you use per show. But if you have an interview based show, feel free to give your guests a little more appreciation by giving them their own cover image!

Distribution:

Ok, now we want to get our podcast into the world. How do we do that? The best way to do it is to use a remote host to do the work for us. Pat will explain this in detail here:

Through my experience, Libsyn is a great option for all the reasons Pat mentioned.

Another thing to note is Libsyn is set up in a way that you can upload it at one point and then it will become available whenever it is published. Before it is published, you get a link for where it will be linked from.

This means that you can get all your show notes all ready to go before the actual launch of that particular show. Essentially you can set it to go off and then work on getting your marketing ready to go.

This is a great thing.

However, the more bang I can get for my buck, the more I’ll want to use a particular option. For Chase and I, we both use SoundCloud as the host for our show.

And while we can’t actually set it up before hand like Libsyn (SoundCloud only gives their file link after it’s published – and even then you have to look for it in Settings > Content. Then copying and pasting the rss feed URL to another tab and then searching for “URL=” in that page of code to find your files. Ugh.), all the metrics that comes with Libsyn’s middle pricing tier is available through the basic tier of SoundCloud.

So, I’ll say this. If getting your content ready to go ahead of time is priority and you don’t do things at the last minute like Chase and myself, then you’ll want to definitely go with libsyn. If you just want to go the least expensive route – SoundCloud is currently the way to go.

That said, everything else as far as setting up Blubrry hasn’t changed – so I’ll leave Pat’s last video here:

Action Steps:

Alright, guys. There you have it. That’s the basics of how I do my podcasts. Again, mad kudos to Pat and Chase for their help in teaching me this process.

Now it’s time to start your own show.

I hope this gives you a little more insight into the behind the scenes of doing a show so you can start yours or make your current process a bit more efficient and/or easier on the wallet.

If you have any questions regarding this process, feel free to contact me using the contact page. I’d be glad to help you out in any way I can!

podcast planning

How to Inexpensively Start a New Podcast: Planning and Production

In this second installment of this three part series of starting a podcast, I’ll be looking at the actual process of recording the show. Now that you hopefully have all your gear, you’ll need to learn how to put it all together and use it. Let’s get started.

There’s plenty of tips and tricks that I could give you in this post. There’s so many things that go into making a podcast that I could make a course on it myself… beyond what Pat has!

 If you’ve forgotten his tips or haven’t seen them, here’s that video:

Here are 6 more tips that will help you make an impression with your podcast:

Planning

So let’s start before where Pat started in his tutorial – which is the planning stage. This particular stage shouldn’t be taken lightly. So I’m going to cover it more detail.

The one thing he did cover was how long the podcast should be. And, I couldn’t agree with him more.

1. Who’s your Audience?

The first thing you’re going to have to consider just like all any other independent creator, is to figure out what your audience wants. What makes them, well… them? The best way to do this is to make a list of 20 some people who you think might be interested in your potential show. Find out from them what they’d want to hear discussed.

Not sure who those 20 people are? Ask yourself what kind of people do you want to help or entertain? What kinds of things do they geek out about? Do they appreciate their time? Do they like to kill time? How can you add value in that space?

listening-to-podcast

Who’s Your Audience?

2. Length of Your Show

Once you’ve determined who your audience is going to be, you can start thinking about the length of your show.

Let’s start our first by thinking about what you’re trying to accomplish with your show. Here are three potential examples of popular shows.

  1. Action based. Meaning, are you going to be giving plenty of tips? Are you going to be interviewing people like Pat does to help others do something?
  2. More general conversation – a Hybrid. Where you’re actually just sitting down with the person to get to know them and have them share their expertise a little bit. That’s what we do on the AoL Podcast. Try and get a little bit of both.
  3. Deep conversation about anything and everything – Maybe you’re just going to have a podcast where you’re just talking about everything and anything that’s going on in general in your specific topic or with your specific guest? Not focused so much on actionable discussion, but high content. More like a radio show.

Generally speaking, as you progress from specific action based discussions to a more  conversational show, the longer your podcast is going to be. It just takes time to get into a good discussion that will captivate your audience.

That’s one reason why Tim Ferriss’ shows are so captivating. His longest shows at times are often his best ones. Some of those have been known to go 2 or 3 hours! He’s even said a couple of times that’s why he does have such long conversations – to dive extremely deep.

That said, he doesn’t release a new show every day, either.

So, here’s a thought. If your plan is to give tips, tactics, and actionable items on your own or with one other person. The more you can do it, the better. Think of Entrepreneur on Fire or Ask Pat.

If you’re going to be more in depth with a person, maybe a 45 minute to an hour chat, make it, at most, twice a week. Art of Charm is a good example there. Maybe throw in a Q&A call.

And if you’re going to go in-depth, make it once a week.

 

3. Interviewing Style

If your show is going to have guests on it, you’ll need to figure out what your interviewing style is.

What do I mean by this?

Here are three types of interviewing:

  1. Highly Structured – Ask basically the same questions with every guest you have
  2. Loose Structure – Use a framework to form questions based on the guest.
  3. Low or No Structure – Engage in regular inquisitive conversation.

Regardless of the type you use, make sure you communicate to your guest what’s important. Let them know what kind of structure you use. Also, it might be a good idea to keep in contact with them before the interview actually happens so they know it’s a for sure event.

Larry King - Legend of Low Structure Interviewing

Larry King – Legend of Low Structure Interviewing

High Structure:

Obviously, asking the same questions is going to be more scripted sounding. Whereas inquisitive conversation is going to be based on what the guest is saying at the time.

The pros of having a scripted show is that you and your audience will always know the questions and points that are going to be discussed.

The cons of this type will be that you might run the risk of being too scripted and come across as a robot. Or, even if you don’t sound scripted, it might still get repetitive. If patterns of answers start forming with your guests, you might lose parts of your audience because they already know the answer.

Loose Structure:

The middle ground interview type. Instead of having the same questions each conversation, this structure works more on a framework. In Pat’s tutorial, he mentioned that his favorite podcast at the time had different parts to the show. That show sounded like it uses a framework. In the AoL Podcast, we also use a framework for our conversations too. The overall structure is the same, but the questions change from show to show.

The good thing about using this type of structure is that it saves some time with your interviews and it won’t get super repetitive.

The bad thing is that it might sound like you’re trying to cram a ton of stuff into a single show without really going deep into much of it.

Low or No Structure:

True masters of interviewing typically use the Low or No Structure approach to their interviews. Every show is different because every conversation is different.

Essentially you let the guest lead the conversation and paint the picture.

The good thing about this type of interview is that it’s very relatable. Listeners will feel more like they’re part of the conversation as it naturally progresses.

The problem with this type of format is that it’s only done well in long format. To even scratch the surface of the guest, it might take the interviewer an hour. And even then, they might not get everything answered that they’d like to. Interviewing novices probably shouldn’t attempt this format as you they might not ever get the guest to truly open up – especially if they ask the wrong questions.

As a bonus, if you’re good at the low or no structure approach, guests will appreciate your company more because you’re not coming with agenda. That’s why Cal Fussman and Larry King have been able to make so many friends over the years of their career. They’re genuinely interested in the interviewee.

4. Finding Topics to Discuss

I used to produce a couple of shows that have since discontinued. One of was full topic based while the other was a hybrid show consisting of topics and interviews.

One thing that you should consider when discussing topics is, again, how pertinent they are to your audience. Three great ways to find topics is by discussing popular posts on blogs, threads in forums, or questions that are asked by your audience.

Remember that a lot of the media these days get their “news” from reddit.com

Production

When it comes to production, there’s going to be a ton of differences between how people get things done. Whether you have a PC or a Mac, use Garageband or Audition, or even how you record everyone. Personally, I have everyone record their side so there’s no hiccups from the Skype connection (I think Chase calls this dovetailing).

But there are a few things everyone can do when it comes to doing things inexpensively.

Dovetail Recording: Everyone on the show has their own Audio Track

Dovetail Recording: Everyone on the show has their own Audio Track

1. Intro and Outro

The intro to your show is part of it’s personality. It’s how people will recognize that they’re listening to the right show when they’re busy doing something else – be it driving, working, or exercising.

A lot of people will say that you need a short intro. To keep it to a minimum because people have short attention spans.

While that might be true in some instances, I really think it depends on your audience whether or not that advice is relevant.

If you’re audience includes people who are looking for a quick show, then yes. You’re going to want to have a quick intro. Or perhaps your topic is headline or news material, than yeah. A short intro is better.

However, if it’s a deep dive and you’re planning on having shows that approach an hour or more, then it’s not really going to matter that you have a minute to a couple of minutes long intro session. It really helps if you give an idea about what the show is going to be about so your audience can determine if they want to spend their time listening to it.

Same thing for the outro. If you have a long chat, make room for a proper outro. The worst thing you could do with an epic chat is just do a sudden drop. Have a wrap up and a call to action.

Also, as a little side note. If you’re going to use music with your intro or outro, you can take Pat’s advice to go buy stock music. Or, you can search for Free Stock Music and use that instead. There’s tons of samples out there on Soundcloud, YouTube, even Microsoft had some at one point. Just make sure you give credit if the artist asks for it.

2. Have a Backup Recording

You can never have too many recordings of a conversation. I mentioned that I use dovetailing to get everyone into the conversation without any skips. However, you can’t count on your guests or co-hosts to have their copy of the conversation.

That’s why you want to have something that actually records Skype.

If you have multiple people on the line, it’s good to have a control document. That way the flow of the conversation goes in the right direction at all times. There’s nothing worse than going over the same information twice on an hour long show and/or wasting your guest’s time because someone lost track of what was being discussed.

Also, play with the settings of your hardware and software so you get the best quality – and have your co-hosts and guests do this too. If it’s completely alien to you or them, find a tutorial in how to use your equipment when it’s brand new.

Action Steps

This time around, I want you to start thinking about your audience. The people that you want to help, influence, or entertain.

What kind of stuff do they want to listen to? Do you know for sure? Are there already other shows out there that’s like what you’re thinking about creating?

If you’re not sure, ask a few of them.

Once you get a good idea on what they’d like to hear about, determine how you want to deliver it based on what we talked about above.

And then, start familiarizing yourself with that hardware and software you should already have. It really helps to look up YouTube videos on this stuff.

Learn to Sweeten Your Podcasts with Chase!

Learn to Sweeten Your Podcasts with Chase!

Chase on Monitoring (Headsets)

Chase editing the Fizzle Show (with Logic Pro X)

Or, better yet, you can get 5 weeks (as of this writing) of free Fizzle and take a course where Chase illustrates some tricks of how he does the Fizzle Show. If you’re thinking about using Logic Pro X, I highly recommend it. I learn something new each time I watch it!

 

To be Continued…

Ok, so that’s it for part 2 of this 3 part series.

Next week, in part 3, we’ll be bringing it all home. Learning how to export your podcast and then figuring out where your going to post it so others can start hearing your great message!

start a podcast

How to Inexpensively Start a Podcast: Equipment and Software

When people think about starting a podcast, they believe that they need something that’s super duper professional and expensive. That’s truly not the case.

Back in 2012, Pat Flynn was one of the first to share his setup for his award winning podcast.

That post was just over 4 years ago.

In this first of three posts, I’ll be sharing with you my setup for starting a podcast. It includes reviews from two other sources, Pat’s tutorial, and Chase Reeves of Fizzle.co, as well as what I’ve found on my own after 50+ episodes of doing the AoL Podcast.

Please note that there are Amazon affiliate links in this post!

If you want to get better deals or aren’t an Amazon Prime member, you can always check and see what you can find on eBay. However, if you’re on a schedule and you need to start as soon as possible, you might want to buy new from Amazon. I had to send several items back in the process of setting up my show. Took me a few weeks longer than I would have liked.

Most people who want to start a podcast these days will more than likely stumble onto Pat Flynn’s podcast tutorial.

It’s a great tutorial. In fact, I used it to get started on the first podcast I produced. But as with anything on the web, time passes and things needs to be added to or altered in some way.

Pat’s done a great job in changing it up since he created it in 2012, too. There’s tons of great information there that I think will prove beneficial to you!

However, one thing that many podcasters who are just starting out might not have is an abundance of money to pay for everything that Pat recommends in his tutorial.

Let’s Start with the Mic2016-01-14 16.07.49

Take for example, his recommended microphone, the Heil PR-40. It sounds great! But, it costs $300 or more depending on where you get it. Whereas the mic that I found via Fizzle’s Chase Reeves Microphone Shootout, the Audio-Technica AT875R, was $169.

When you factor all the additional hardware pieces that you have to get for each setup to get to the point where you’re ready to hit the record button, Chase’s “Best Buy” solution comes out to about half the price.

And, in my opinion, if you listen to the Fizzle Show, you can hear that it produces great quality.

Here are the two videos for you to compare even more. Pat’s is very too the point, where Chase’s Shootout is very technical – almost MythBuster like!

Check it:

Pat’s Podcast Tutorial Video 1: Equipment and Software

Podcaster’s High Quality Microphone Shootout:

Beginner’s Best Buy:

By the way, if neither of these mics are in your price range, a really great option that sounds pretty decent (if you tune it correctly), is the Audio-Technica atr2100 for $79. It’s a USB AND XLR compatible mic that I have many folks grab as their first mic. The great thing about it is that you don’t need a mixer for it to work. You can just plug it in via USB like many mics you might be already used to.

Other Hardware

Mixers:

The mic isn’t the only piece that you’re going to need to get started. In fact, both of the ones that Chase and Pat recommend need what’s called a mixer.

You heard me also mention XLR – this is where that comes into play. It’s the three pronged connection type you see most professional mics have. It’s an old analog connection. Meaning if you go with a professional mic, you’ll need a mixer.

Pat’s mixer for his tutorials was the Behringer Xenyx 1002FX, priced at $90. What Chase recommended for Fizzle members was the Mackie Onyx Blackjack, priced at $99. (I got mine used from eBay at $80.)

Arm Thingy / Stands / Booms:

Along the mixer and the mic, you’ll also need that arm thingy. These are called boom stands, and you’ll need to order one for where you intend to use it. As you saw in Pat’s video, there are booms that are specific for certain mics, but there’s also generic ones.

The generic one I got was this one at a whopping $13. It gets the job done.

In contrast, Pat’s Heil boom is $120. Go for it if you “want to be like Pat”.

Oh and there are taller ones if you want to stand up or while doing some video work (you can use the same mic over your head). I got this one by Griffin for my course videos sometime down the line.

Headphones:

Now, this is something that Pat didn’t talk about in his hardware piece. It looks like he had some sort of Beats headphones, but not being super familiar with that brand before it was bought by Apple, I went with what Chase recommended in one of the videos inside of Fizzle:

Sony MDR7506 Professional Headphones

If you see a better deal on eBay and they’re from China, don’t be afraid to get them. Just remember that it might take up to three weeks for them to come in vs 3-5 days with Amazon.

Computer:

Now, this is something that neither Chase nor Pat talked about in their review because they probably think you already have one of these.

However, the truth is that they both use Macs to do their work. You can tell in Pat’s tutorial he uses Garageband (I’m not sure what he has his editor use now these days) and Chase uses Logic Pro X. We’ll get to those in a minute.

If you’re in the market to get whatever’s easiest to do the job, I recommend getting a Mac. The software is just that much easier to work with.

Where do you get an Inexpensive Mac?

Not at the Apple Store!

First, let’s just get one thing straight. I don’t ever by brand new technology unless I’m forced to.

That means computers just as much as it means cars.

The only way I’d pay for an expensive new piece of tech is if it was a custom piece. A custom computer… or a custom car. Like a Tesla.

If you listen to Dave Ramsey or Robert Kiyosaki, you know that technology and cars are not assets, they are liabilities. So buy them as low price as possible.

That said, a great site to buy used Macs from is GainSaver. They generally get their older macs from offices or colleges that always have the newest and best gear.

Personally, I have a 2010 Mac Pro (Model: MC561LL/A) that I do most of my work on and it runs like a champ. Also, I don’t have to worry about it overheating with intense use. Many people primarily use Macbook Pro’s for all their work, but I had two of them burn-up in the same year.

So, I primarily use my laptop for small projects and browsing the web.

Also, you might be wondering why I don’t have a newer Mac Pro? Here’s an image to show you why:

 

keep-it-simple

 

I’m not sure about you, I don’t need all that junk cluttering up my desk.

Speaking of Upgrades

If you want to upgrade one of the computers on Gainsaver (or Apple’s site for that matter), you can do that. But just like at popcorn at a movie theatre, they’re going to charge you even more than you’d expect

Recommendation? If you’re somewhat technically gifted (meaning that you’re the go-to person in your family that everyone comes to tech help), or have access to someone who is, go to a site like Other World Computing, find out what you need for your specific model, go over to eBay, and find it for a great deal.

RAM and hard drives are CHEAP compared to just a few years ago!

Best names in memory as of this writing is Kingston and Crucial. In hard drives, they’re HGST and Western Digital.

And they’re really easy to install in a Mac Pro. I promise.

Editing and Recording Software:

Mac Options:

Ok, so moving back to software.

If you go with a Mac, you get Garageband for free. It’s a great little app and frankly, really all you need for conversations. Your show’s quality won’t sound like The Fizzle Show, but it might sound like the early shows of SPI.

Nothing wrong with that!

garageband

Garageband

Let me tell you, as a beginner, Garageband (which is free with a Mac) is much easier to use than Logic Pro X is. The reason I use Logic now is because I see it as a personal challenge. I see it as a skill and artI want to develop. And, as of this writing (at almost 60 episodes), I’m still learning what I need to know to produce a show that sounds great.

If you don’t want to go through that process, go with Garageband.

PC Options:

If you go with a PC, there’s a couple of options I know of. One is a free app called Audacity (which I use for different things time to time) and a more professional option is Adobe Audition.

Audacity

While Audacity isn’t my go to application, you can get the job done with it.

As far as Audition goes, I personally don’t know too much about it. But with everything else, you can always find out how to use it via YouTube.

Recording with Guests and/or remote co-hosts

Now, if you find yourself hosting an interview based show, then you’re going to want to consider a few more pieces of software because you can’t do everything you want to do with what I’ve already discussed.

In fact, before you go editing with the other programs, you’ll need to record with what I’m about to tell you.

To record online for free, you’ll want to use Skype.

You can have multiple people on and the sound quality is pretty decent compared to other options – like YouTube Live, Hangouts, or Facebook Live (I’m not even entirely sure if that’s possible – but it might be!)

Skype has been around for years. That means that there’s plenty of other apps that you can plug and play with it – which, in this case, you’ll need to do to actually record.

Mac Skype Recorders:

Quicktime audio recorder

You have two options here. And honestly, I use them both when I’m recording. The first is another free app that comes on Macs only – Quicktime.

Most people know that this can play video files that are on their computer. But what they might not know is that it can actually record screen recordings (webinars anyone?) and whatever is spoken into the mic.

Great little tool to have.

ecamm-call-recorder

Ecamm Call Recorder

The only problem is that it doesn’t record what’s coming from the other side of the conversation. So for that, you’ll need another application called Ecamm Call Recorder for Skype.

It’s pretty straightforward, once you have it installed. Just hit record when you’re about to start and then hit stop when you’re done. Same with Quicktime’s audio recording.

PC Skype Recorders:

Ok, so I’m going to admit that the reason that I’ve never had a PC is just the complexity that many apps have to do something that it’s fairly simple to do on a Mac.

In this case, you’re going to need to get a program called Pamela. Like the Ecamm Call Recorder, you install it and it’s pretty close to being ready to go. However, the default settings are not set up in a way that would benefit you as a podcaster. To do that, you’ll need to set the recordings to stereo as well as change the format it records in. Here’s a video to do just that. Pamela currently retails at just under $28.

Pamela for Skype

Pamela for Skype

Also, something else to note is that from what I understand, PC’s can only record in one application/program (sorry, I use those words interchangeably!) at a time. So make sure that Pamela is working before you start your show!

Action Steps

If you’ve decided that you actually are starting a podcast, here is my call to action for you this week:

  1. Get a feel for how much you’re going to want to spend on this project. With a new Mac Pro (or Macbook Pro), that budget might be upwards of $1800 – $2000. But that Mac Pro will be useful for everything else in your business AND you can list all of this as tax write offs for the year. (Be sure to get at least 2 monitors if you don’t have them already.)
  2. Make a list of the parts that you need yet to get your podcasting show started on the hardware and software side of things. Think of it as a grocery list.
  3. Get stuff ordered.
  4. Start putting it together and experimenting with it

It’ll end up looking something like this… (depending on how many monitors you get):

home-office-2016

To be Continued…

Ok, so that’s it for part 1 of this 3 part series.
Next week, in part 2, I’ll continue with a few recording tips that have either changed or weren’t covered in Pat’s 2012 tutorial. I’ll be sure to include some of the more detail stuff that I have to do to get a podcast produced and ready to go out the door.

How to Make a Personal Development Plan for Your Business Which You’ll Be Sure to Stick To!

In the last post, I talked about Just In Time Learning. This is something that I’ve been learning quite a bit about recently.

Before I was focusing on building New Inceptions, I would always just listen to whatever the influencers had to say. Many times just because it was actionable information.

But, I never took action and therefore it was really just entertainment.

Once I did start focusing, however, I was able to actually apply what I was learning. And then I would naturally have more questions that needed answers. And the process would keep going.

This process has lead to me mastering skills and abilities that I didn’t know I’d even have before starting on the journey of building a business.

Want to know my strategy for mastering parts of my business? Here you go:

Step-by-step process: How to Make a Personal Development Plan for Your Business that You’ll Be Sure to Stick To

I’m going to walk you through all six steps here. Follow along and do what I do.

Step 1: Brainstorm

Using a mind map, I want you to think of 10 to 15 things that you believe that you could that could take your business to the next level.

Before you think of those items, I want you to give yourself 4 different categories that will help you with your thinking.

These 4 different categories are things that would help your business grow. So, for example, here are 4:

  1. Speaking opporutunities
  2. A website
  3. Products
  4. Engaging with potential clients

If you’ve never heard of a mind map, here’s what one might look like (via Pat Flynn in this 2008 post).

pats-mindmap

These are examples of things that Pat could make money from.

This mind mapping process can give you a much clearer sense of what’s important and you need to be focusing on next.

Step 2: From Your Mindmapping, preferably pick skills and topics that are in the Personal Development Sweet Spot.

Meaning that:

  1. You have a competency in or can perform it.
  2. You have a passion for it (or it’s existence will help your passion).
  3. Other people will want it.

Here’s a visualization of where you should be working:

personal-development-sweet-spot

Step 3: Prioritize – which of these chosen skills or actions will have the most impact on your business?

Now that you’ve brought this list down a bit, let’s see if it makes sense to do them right now.

First, do any of the items that you’re thinking about working on fall into one of the 6 Cornerstones of a Successful Online Business?

For example, if one of your items is learning how to use a certain type of social media (because one of the 4 topics we listed was engaging with potential clients), then you’d learn that social media, when it comes to business, is a form of marketing.

However, another one of our topics was “a website”.

Would it make sense to market your services first or have a place on the web (or in the real world for that matter) where people can find out more about you?

That’s where a website is needed. Marketing and engagement should come after actually having somewhere for people to find out more about what you’re doing.

Again, get the 6 Cornerstones eBook to help with this part.

Step 4: Evidence of Accomplishment

So let’s say that you pick doing a website now because you accept what I said in the last step.

How will you know that your website is done enough that you can start marketing it?

What does “Done” look like here?

That decision is going to be up to you. You might just opt for a long one page solution. Or, you might feel that you want to create different pages that that have different jobs. What’s best for what you’re wanting to do?

You have to start with the end in mind of what you want to achieve before you go looking for how you should do it.

Examples of things that might be considered “done” in my book would include:

  1. My New Product is available.
  2. I have a landing page for that new product.

Or if I wanted to work on traffic and leads:

  1. How many new followers do I need to have in order to get X traffic?

Knowing what you’re looking for will help you do the next step…

Step 5: Find and List 10 Resources or People That You Might Be Able to Learn it From

Ok, so how do you find someone that has the knowledge (free or for a premium) that will help you do what you want to do?

I have 5 suggestions you can to with increasing cost to get what you’re looking for:

  • Search YouTube – You’ll find the free options here. Many times, though, they’re previews of the main course.
  • Subscribe to Fizzle – Only $35 a month and it covers all the bases of what you need to know at any given time while building a young business. (Use this link for 2 weeks for free!)

fizzle

Here’s the main page of Fizzle’s library of courses. Now you see why I recommend them!!

  • Go to a site like Lynda.com or uDemy to find specific skills for your business.
  • Buy a big ol’ course from a lead influencer. These usually have the best results because they’re so rich in details, but you will be paying through the nose for it. (These can typically cost anywhere from $500 – $5000 per course!!) You’ll hear about these courses from big mediapreneurs like Pat Flynn, Jordan Harbinger, and Lewis Howes.
  • Buy a course from a lesser known person through a site like Producthunt.com. Results might definitely vary here, but you might find a bargain!!

Step 6: Implementation through Accountability

Learning about some new topic, strategy, or skill, won’t mean anything unless you put what you’re learning about to use.

Some people like to buy the higher cost courses just because the higher cost will keep them more accountable to implementing what they’ve learned.

However, many of those courses are time sensitive and will expect your full focus right away. Often times you get to meet others through these courses and help each other accomplish more together.

Side Note: If you’re wondering how much a product that is currently being hyped will cost – the more hype combined with the more results a free portion of the product will yield, the more you can expect the final program costing.

So a great example of this was the recent Ryan Levesque’s Ask Method. He was on several shows giving great quality in-depth pointers in how to actually do something. He was also mentioned several times in email campaigns by other folks as affiliates. The actual cost of the program is unknown to me, but I would go out on a limb and guess it was easily $2000 to $5000 per participant. And if people wanted to work with him in a small workshop type of function – that could easily start that price at $10k for the entry price.

Personally, I’ve been through two programs like this: The John Maxwell Team Certification Program and The Foundation. My networks have blossomed greatly because of my involvement with both.

Other resources that are available all the time won’t require as much focus and chances are their price points won’t be in the thousands.

However, you won’t be getting built in accountability with it.

If you have a network already in place of people who are ready to be accountable with you in whatever you want to work on, then you don’t need that extra price

If you’re just getting starting on your business, here’s my suggestion: Hop on Fizzle and make use of their Roadmap or if you’re a reader, read Pat Flynn’s book Will It Fly?

Action Steps:

Here’s my challenge to you.

Pick 5 topics or skills that you’re going to learn about within the next month or so by the end of this week. Then start learning about the first one next week. It might take you longer than a week to learn and do as much as you can for each one. How quickly you learn them is completely up to you.

But you’ll have focus because you’ll know what you’re supposed to be learning about!

And, of course, the bright side of that is that you won’t go crazy trying to convince yourself you need to be doing 20 different things!

Let me know how it works out for you below!

 

mental focus

Increasing Mental Focus – 4 Simple Steps that Can Change Your Life

Last Week I talked about how you can get more life satisfaction. There’s multiple reasons why someone would want more life satisfaction. With that post, I simply jumped into the how to of getting it started.

In today’s topic, we’re going to dive a little deeper into two of the 4 tactics mentioned in the previous post. Specifically, long term goals and having a growth mindset.

Here’s the thing, while you’re pursuing a long term goal, you’re going to grow as a person. There’s no doubt about it.

However, to do that growing AND achieve those goals, you’re going to have to put in a ton of work.

And to get that work done, you’re going to have to focus.

We All Make Choices

If you’re like me and many people I know, you probably have a busy life. For the most part, going to work takes up a ton of our time. If you have kids, that’s another layer of stuff you gotta do. And if you have extended family – there’s even more stuff you got to manage time for. And let’s not forget all the social things we might be a part of. Gaming, sports groups, you name it.


With all these things that we have to do on a daily basis, it’s hard to imagine how anyone has ever successfully done anything meaningful in their life after entering the workforce.

Seriously, who has the time?

Here’s the answer: You do.

“But how?”, you might be wondering.

We all have time. Everyone has 24 hours a day. Everyone has always had and always will have 24 hours a day.

We all make choices in how we’re going to spend our 24 hours.

Here’s a few that I’ve had to make in the past:

  • Go to a workplace that requires us to be there 7, 8, or even more hours per day.
  • Go to school and do the homework for the classes.
  • Be part of a sports team.
  • Go to the gym.
  • Keep working on that character in that video game.
  • Watch or hear that particular show so we have something to talk with people about.
  • Have friends or family that wants to hang out when we’re not doing work.
  • Sleep.

Many of these choices are things that “busy” people are probably already doing most (if not all) of. However, just because we’re busy doesn’t necessarily mean we’re being productive. And it sure as hell doesn’t mean we’re being satisfied by our lives. I could and will argue that many of these above choices can be distractions.

Most of our Satisfaction in Life Comes from Mental Focus in Working Towards Something

Outside of hanging out with friends and family, there are few things that give us all satisfaction.

Sure you might get some temporary satisfaction in playing games, watching shows, or getting that paycheck from your job. But again, I could argue those things are possibly examples of time that could be used more productively. Especially, if a person is interested in building a more satisfied life.

It’s not that we haven’t used mental focus before. You might have previously focused in school, sports, military… and even, believe it or not, playing video games.

Many would say that video game players are lazy – but they are as dedicated to their craft. Just as much as those who are focused on getting their degree, throwing a ball, or knowing what to do during an emergency situation.

Here’s Cam’s take on it:

In all four of these examples, we feel satisfied because we feel that the work that we’re performing is being put towards building something.

If it doesn’t require mental focus or we don’t feel like we’re building something, then there’s a good chance we’re not going to get satisfaction from the time, resources, or work we spend on a given activity.

Increasing Mental Focus:

So, how do we spend more of our time utilizing our mental focus towards building we care about?

1. Prepare for Prolonged Focus

The first part of being able to successfully focus on something we want to do is give ourselves the ability to actually focus.

If you’re the type of person runs on caffeine all day and doesn’t do much physical activity – that needs to change. You don’t want your body having to rely on caffeine to perform day in and day out – which can happen.

Also, stay hydrated. Personally, this is one that I struggle with myself. I know I don’t drink enough water. Having grown up on all kinds of sodas, juices, and other sugary drinks, I’ve never been able to make drinking water a part of my routine. So if you’re like me, make sure that you’re figuring out other ways of getting your water in. For me, I’ve become a tea-aholic!

One other way to prepare for prolonged focus is by making sure you get plenty of sleep. Seriously.

7 or 8 hours is what we should be shooting for. That means if you’re planning on getting up at 5 or 6 in the morning, you’ll be wanting to go to bed at 9 or 10pm at the latest.

2. Choose Your Most Important Tasks

Once you are rested up and have something to drink near you, you’ll be ready to get going. But before we do, we need to make sure we’re aware of the tasks that we want to do that particular day.

I’ve talked about how important it is to properly plan the tasks you want to get done that week and month. When it comes to doing something in a particular day, all we want to do is 1 to 3 things.

For example, I keep it simple by focusing on writing on Monday, podcast editing on Tuesday and podcast publishing on Wednesday. The rest of the time is committed to marketing, meetings, and specifically on Thursday and Friday, I try to learn and utilize new skills and systems to help with the other days.

3. Clear Space for Focused Work by Getting Rid of Distractions

Distractions come in all sizes. Having a dead end or uninteresting job, playing videogames or watching TV for 4 or more hours a day, or endlessly scrolling through social media or answering emails are examples of distractions.

The difference between distractions and other activities is that distractions are activities that aren’t helping you reach your goals or enriching your life.

If you’re having problems figuring out what the distractions in your life are, then think about the things you do that others would consider a waste of time or you personally feel is “a grind”.

Your job might literally drain you and stress you out. This might grounds to look for another job.

If you feel like you have to play video games “like a job”, then figure out something else to spend your time on. Maybe you feel like you have to be on all the social media platforms that your friends are on. If this is the case, then just pick one and let them know they can actually call you if they need something.

The goal with this step is to make sure we are not being interrupted when we actually sit down and do activities that are meaningful. If you need more help with distractions, here’s a post for more info.

If you want to start small but have some really drastic changes in this department, here are three things you can do today:

  1. Don’t multitask. No one can multitask and if they say they can, they’re still living in the year 2000.
  2. Turn off notifications on your phone and computer
  3. Do not connect to social media or other things until your main tasks are done.
  4. Don’t leave email going all day. Check it twice – preferably mid-morning and before you’re done for the day. DO NOT check it first thing!

4. Get in the Zone – Your Zone

Being busy is something that many of us have grown up believing is the key to success. And the truth is that, being busy is often times a sign that a person isn’t in control of their lives. The busier someone is or seems to be, the more they’re probably at the call of someone else.

So the goal, believe it or not, is to not for you to appear busy all the time. Instead it’s to actually be doing something when you’re wanting to do it and committing to that action. This will get you “in the Zone” or “in flow”. When you’re in flow, you won’t have to worry about others perceiving you as being busy because you will be and the more times you get there, the longer you’ll be able to stay there.

Being in flow for long periods of time is called Deep Work or Slow Working. Interestingly, this type of work yields better results in the long run.

If you’re not used to doing work for a long period of time, shoot for at least a half an hour sprint. And then work your way up to longer periods of time. The goal is to train your mind like a muscle. Ideally you’ll be able to spend enough time in a deep work mode that you’ll be able to finish the task at hand before you need a break.

However, you need to take breaks from time to time. So make sure you do take that lunch hour and walk around for a few minutes every hour or so.

If your current job prevents you from going into the zone on a regular basis, you might want to consider finding another job. I personally believe that being able to be in flow is a vital part of having job satisfaction.

If you’ve never had a job that will allow you to get there, then that might be a sign that it’s time for you to start your own business. This will give you a way to do something you like to do in a way that you will like doing it.

Ending Thoughts

I hope that this post gives you a clearer sense of what focus and subsequently, your work life, should be like. If you believe that you’re not being able to clearly focus on your job or in your business, then it might definitely be time to change some things up.

Lack of focus will cause you unneeded stress. Period. With so many options and opportunities in the world today, it’s just not smart to strap yourself to a particular group of coworkers or a paycheck with a particular name on it.

That might have been expected with the Baby Boomers, but even they know that things are changing quickly. (For a great discussion on this topic, check out my discussion with Dr. Joe Albano)

Your goal is to not look at a job as “working for” a particular company. It’s to look at a job as “working with” them. If you can’t find the partnership you seek in your current industry, you owe it to yourself to find that partnership elsewhere – even if it means starting your own business.

Word of advice: Don’t expect for your current company to change for you. Just because you might be starting to find your own goals in life, doesn’t mean your current place of employment agrees with those goals.

You might have to move. But that’s ok, because you don’t want to work at a place you’re not appreciated.

If you find yourself looking for a new job, do your due diligence when you’re interviewing and find out if the position truly works for you along with the goals and culture of the company that you’ll be working with.