Connect with us

Success Advice

8 Ways To Become A Best-Selling Author With Your First Book

Published

on

I admit it. There are no guarantees—especially with books.

Mini Habits best selling bookBut while I can’t guarantee this will work for you, I can say it worked for me and I’ll do my best to share why. I’ve published one book (so far) called Mini Habits, and it’s been a bestseller for more than seven months straight, almost always being in the top 10 of competitive categories. So when I say best seller, I don’t mean that it peaked at #35 in one category one time and dropped back down into oblivion. It has sold 16,000+ copies in these seven months.

At its peak, Mini Habits hit #15 overall in the US Kindle store (and #1 in nonfiction). That was a fun day!

These are the 8 key factors that made my book a best seller. If you’re a current or prospective self-published author, you’ll want to bookmark this one. This is what made my book a mini-phenomenon… one which continues to grow.

 

1. Give Your Book A Chance To Succeed

Obvious, isn’t it? But how many self-published authors out there are paying enough for skilled editors and talented cover artists? I don’t know the answer, but I know that a lot do NOT invest much money into their book—only their time. The problem with only investing time is that publishing a book takes an alarming number of varied skills to pull off. The likelihood that you can do everything to a high standard is about as likely as North Korea being voted “friendliest country.”

To have a chance, you usually need to take a financial risk. I paid $150 for my first cover. It wasn’t horrible, but I did decide to pay $550 to have another one created that fit the book better and gave a more cheerful vibe. That’s $700 I put into the cover alone. Then you have editing, proofreading, and any other services you might need to fill in your skill gaps.

To compete at a high level in the marketplace, your book must be polished.

 

2. Launch Big Or Go Home

Book launches are like space shuttle launches—if there’s a problem in the beginning, your entire mission is in big trouble. The reason is a simple, yet powerful observation that any of us can identify as true.

The books that sell are the books that sell.

It’s unfortunate that so many gems are buried in obscurity, but it happens all the time. For your book to have a chance, at some point it must rise up the charts to a place where browsing readers can see it, and the best time for that to happen is right when you release it.

It’s not just visibility, either. Who wants to buy a book that has sold one copy in the past year? Psychologically, we’re wired to think that the books that sell the most are the best ones. That’s not always true, and the way in which it is most incorrect is in assuming books that don’t sell aren’t any good.

Perception and visibility make your book’s success or failure.

How do you launch big?

The most reliable way is with your own targeted email list. I had just over 4,000 email subscribers when I launched Mini Habits. It reached as high as #1,503 overall on Amazon in the first couple of days in which members of my list bought 100-200 copies.

The second best way is with another person’s email list. I was fortunate enough that Steve Scott—a prolific blogger and author—liked the book and shared it with his list of about the same size. This helped minimize the dreaded post-launch cliff and kept it visible.

If you don’t have an email list or know anyone who does, you’ll need to get creative and try to build partnerships with people of influence. One good idea that has worked for some is to give out advance copies of your book to bloggers in your book’s niche. Then ask them to share it if they like it.

The point here is that it’s unrealistic to think your book will sell if it doesn’t have a big push to get it into the spotlight. Just think about a best-selling author like Stephen King—the moment he releases a book, there are already thousands of people waiting to buy it, sending it up the charts and making it visible to even more people. That’s what you need to aim for (on a smaller level, of course). I did it by building a platform (my blog). I’m a poor networker, but I was still able to have a big launch. Play to your strengths and leverage email lists for a big launch! Even if you have to pay someone to advertise to their list, email is the best sales channel.

 

3. Publish In The Right Place(s)

Mini Habits is exclusive to Amazon. The reason for that is Amazon’s KDP select. There are three benefits of KDP select, which you gain when you only publish your ebook on Amazon.

Countdown sales (or free sales, which I personally think devalues books) — once every 90 days, you can put your book on sale, and there will be a countdown timer to show readers when the sale ends. Most authors find this helps increase sales over manual price changes (because of the official countdown timer).

Prime borrows — Amazon Prime members pay about $99 a year for free two-day shipping on Amazon. As a bonus, they are allowed to borrow one Kindle book per month. If you’re on KDP select, your book is included as an option. On average, Amazon pays you about $2 every time your book is borrowed. Depending on the price of your book, this is almost like another sale. And as for your book’s Amazon ranking, it seems to count as a full or partial sale too, which is obviously wonderful.

Kindle Unlimited — Amazon just announced a Netflix-like subscription model for books. Readers pay $9.99 for unlimited access to more than 600,000 books. Mini Habits is automatically one of those books because it is enrolled in KDP Select. So if a reader has Kindle Unlimited and downloads your book, does it count as a sale? A borrow? It counts as nothing, actually, until they read at least 10% of your book. After they read to the 10% mark, the transaction is counted just like a Prime borrow (which was explained above).

As a side note, guess what Kindle Unlimited is going to encourage? Shorter books, where the 10% mark can be reached more easily. The 10% mark in War And Peace is about the length of my entire book!

Amazon has a KDP fund that is split by authors in KDP select. Your split is determined by what percentage of borrows your book(s) were responsible for. It usually amounts to about $2 per borrow. Now that they’ve added the Kindle Unlimited monkey wrench, the big question is how—if at all—it will affect this $2 per borrow number authors have come to expect. We’ll have to wait and see the first KDP disbursement.

That’s Amazon’s deal and they control 50-60% of the market, so it’s a big deal. It has worked brilliantly for me, and I love the simplicity of only managing one platform. There are legitimate concerns, however, with putting all of your eggs in Amazon’s basket, especially when they’re making industry-shaking moves like Kindle Unlimited. The good news is that if you go exclusive with Amazon, it’s only for 90 days at a time. After that, you’re free to drop KDP select and put your book on other platforms.

I’ve gained thousands of dollars and hundreds of readers by going exclusive with Amazon through the borrows alone, and the Kindle countdown deal is what drove my book to #15 in the USA Kindle store for a few special days. It’s been beneficial to concentrate all sales in one location for sales ranking purposes, too.

That’s not to say it’s best for everyone. I’ve read plenty of authors who get plenty of sales by going multi-platform. I was going to experiment, but it’s gone so well with Amazon that I’ve stuck with it.

 

A total of seven self-published ebooks will make the New York Times bestseller list this weekend

 

4. Make Your Book Relevant, But Unique

I’m not saying you can’t write another vampire book. I’m saying you can’t write “Twi-lite.”

For fiction and nonfiction alike, it’s smart to look at what’s selling well already. That’s where the interest is, and a crowded market is not usually a bad thing. Many people who buy one book in a category will buy several more in that category! Looking at what people are buying now will help you stay relevant.

Now, I’m forever biased, but I think that “Mini Habits” has some intrigue to it. I know it’s at least a unique concept, and yet it’s within the popular habit formation niche (relevant, but unique).

Also important is that “Mini Habits” is a memorable and easily identifiable title, which helps greatly if someone wants to talk about the book or concept with friends. “Mini Habits” is also perfectly descriptive of the book’s topic—I didn’t just throw a catchy name on the cover (though a few copycats of my book did. One guy had “Mini Habits” in the title despite the phrase not being found one time in the actual book… classic).

And that’s another lesson you probably already know. If you want the chance to become a legitimate author yourself, do not blatantly copy other authors. It can work for blog posts to write “The 7 Habits of [blah blah],” but if you publish a book trying to use the same copycat formula, you’ll take a credibility hit.

That said, you can modify a working concept to make it less-than-obvious that you were inspired by a popular book. Maybe your book would be called “The 9 Beliefs Of Very Happy People.” That uses the same general formula as Steven Covey’s blockbuster, “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People,” but it’s not a blatant copy and it even tackles a different subject (and it’s a topic in demand as evidenced by other best-selling books on happiness).

The idea is to stay relevant to what people are looking for, but make sure your book stands out. It’s simple advice, but it’s invaluable if you want to sell books!

 

5. Price Your Book Like A Pro

Note: This strategy applies to Amazon only. I’m not familiar with how the other book markets operate (e.g. Barnes & Noble and Apple).

Just after I launched Mini Habits, I made a mistake. Seeing it as a premium book with premium information, I priced it at a premium price of $9.99. I quickly learned that selling a short book for $10 is a bad idea, especially with your first book. Sales dropped substantially when I increased the price. I expected a drop, but not that much of one! So I lowered it to $5.99, where it’s been selling successfully for months.

To price your ebook, you’ve got to understand the pricing environment you’re in. My book is exclusive with Amazon (and we’ll get to that soon), and so I’ve analyzed the price of hundreds of Amazon ebooks.

People shopping at Amazon have specific expectations of how a book will be priced. Generally what you’ll see is self-published ebooks in the $2.99-9.99 range (with almost all at or below $5.99) and traditionally-published ebooks are often greater than $10. Since Amazon gives a 70% royalty for ebooks in the 2.99-9.99 range, that’s why you see so many books between those boundaries. Books priced outside that range only earn a 35% royalty for the author.

If you “fight the market” and stubbornly price your book at $15 “because it’s worth it,” enjoy having no sales! If you’re like me and you cringe a little bit at selling your baby for too little, consider the other great thing you get from a lower price point—readers! Writers need readers, right? And generally speaking, gaining a loyal reader is more valuable than making a couple bucks more per sale. So if you’re going to be a rebel, choose another way besides pricing. Believe me, you want to conform to market pricing.

 

6. Categorize Your Book Like A Pro

Let me ask you a question. After you launch your book and place it in the proper categories, what do you do? If you said anything besides “change categories,” listen to this. When I made a change to ONE category Mini Habits was in (you can put your book in two categories), sales doubled. That needs all caps, doesn’t it? SALES DOUBLED.

To properly categorize your book, there are only two factors to consider—where your book ranks in the category and how well it sells there. Generally speaking, my strategy is to get in the most popular category where I can rank well. For my sales volume now, that means a popular category in which I can get on the first page (top 20 books). For someone just starting out with lower sales or a very competitive niche (e.g. Mystery), you might be aiming to break the top 100, which is where the bestseller list cuts off.

Keep in mind that being #83 in a popular category might get much more traffic than being the top 20 of a less popular category. Fiction readers especially are voracious, and will scour the deepest depths of their favorite categories to find a new gem.

To get an idea of a category’s popularity, look at several of the first 20 books. Click on a book and scroll down until you see its overall ranking. If it’s a competitive category, you’ll see several books rank in the top 1,000 books overall. If it’s not a very competitive category, the #1 book might be ranked as low as #5,000-#15,000 overall. Now find your book’s overall ranking to see where it would be in the category you’re analyzing.

These should be your priorities:

  • Break top 100 in a category
  • Break top 20 in a category (first page)
  • Become #1 in a category (this might help with Amazon’s system recommendations, and Amazon shows “#1 best seller in ____” next to your book in search)

You have to think carefully though. Being #3 in a popular category will most likely serve you better than being #1 in a lower-traffic category, but only experimentation can confirm this. I’ve had the best results by jumping into a popular category when my book can rank in the top 20, and when I can’t manage that, jumping down to a less popular category and aiming for the top 5.

Chances are, your book can fit in a number of different categories. Some categories are better fits for your book than others, but choosing the “best fit” is not always the best decision for getting your book more sales and exposure. That said, if you pick a completely irrelevant category, you won’t be happy with the results!

These are good guidelines to follow, but you’ll still need to experiment. And that’s the key. Many authors do not experiment, and let their book die young in the wrong category. Sometimes I wonder where Mini Habits would be if I didn’t experiment with categories.

 

professional writer amateur quote

 

7. Know Your Reader And Overdeliver On Value

When people read Mini Habits, they probably expect to think, “that was a cute idea,” or some adorable phrase like that. But what they get is a compelling and carefully-crafted case for taking seriously this ridiculous-sounding strategy of habit change. I loaded the book with science and straightforward logic. I also know the strategies people currently try to succeed with, so I effectively and ruthlessly attacked them as inferior strategies for change. If you’ve been doing something for 25 years and a person presents a compelling case for why you shouldn’t do it anymore, it will get your attention.

After reading my book, people come away with a new perspective. For many of the people who’ve read it, it’s been a life-changing decision for them. That’s why Mini Habits is rated 4.7 stars from 197 reviews as of writing. I’m not trying to brag, I’m trying to explain that people have to like your book in order for it to succeed. But what determines that?

Give the reader tangible results.

Whether it’s a fun experience or a new strategy that solves a problem for them, delivering a result that meets—and hopefully exceeds—what the reader expects from your book is the single most important thing your book must accomplish to succeed.

If your book only rehashes things that have been said and done before, it’s unlikely to make too many waves. One of the most common critical reviews I see is, “nothing new.” That happens when people don’t do in-depth research. They parrot out what other authors are parroting out.

Readers like to be surprised by novel situations in fiction books and novel ideas in nonfiction books. They read books to learn and experience new thoughts and ideas, and if your book doesn’t accomplish that, it will be tough to win people over.

But I want to go a little bit deeper. Overdelivering isn’t just some fancy catchphrase that means “do a good job.” It means to “do more than what’s expected.” And this is critical with books because expectations are largely based the price of your book and how the content measures up to the competition—two things that you can control. We just talked about overdelivering and standing out, so now let’s talk pricing and categories.

 

8. Promote The Smart Way

Note: Some authors will cheat the system and buy positive reviews. People read reviews to see what real people thought of your book. If you can’t get ahead without cheating, you should play a different game! That’s my philosophy, and I think that the trust I build with my book and blog readers will be THE key factor that sustains my business. Not only is review tampering highly unethical, but I find it unnecessary.

Cheating gets you ahead today; honesty builds a foundation for life. It feels good to know that people will look at Mini Habits’ reviews and see nothing but honest feedback. Fortunately, the feedback has been positive, and that’s why overdelivering is important.

Mini Habits has sold like hotcakes for 7 months in a row. Why do you think that is? Whenever sales drop, and even when they don’t, I’m hustling to promote it! Writing and publishing a book is only the beginning. Promotion is a neverending job because when you stop promoting, your book will fade away (unless it’s a rare exception).

Too many authors write a book and wait for the sales to come, but in order to compete, marketing your book is mandatory.

For promotion, the king on top of the mountain is Bookbub. There is no arguing against it, and their role in the book industry is only going to grow moving forward. Bookbub is a book deal site that has email lists of hundreds of thousands of subscribers in different categories. They let subscribers know when there’s a great deal on a great book.

Remember how I said the email list was the key to a big launch? That’s why Bookbub is king. They have, by far, the largest email lists of interested readers (for example, they have 1.5 million emails for the Mystery category alone)!

If you submit your book and are lucky enough to be accepted, you get to pay them several hundred dollars. Wha-whaaat? Yes, and if you know what you’re in for, you’ll have a huge smile on your face when you do it. I often read message boards and laugh when people say Bookbub and “risk” in the same sentence because of the cost. I’ve not heard of one person who hasn’t easily covered their cost with a Bookbub promotion. One measly email from them will trigger hundreds or thousands of sales of your book.

I didn’t mention this, but do you know how Mini Habits rose to #15 overall? It sold 4,000+ copies in two days. And it wasn’t just the Kindle countdown deal, it was Bookbub. And the residual effect of moving up the charts like that is substantial. Sales are still higher months after the promotion, because the books that sell are the books that sell.

But it’s difficult to be accepted on Bookbub because of the demand, and you can understand why. Getting on Bookbub with a diamond in the rough book might just change your life. It changed mine!

If you think the whole point of this article is “get on Bookbub,” that’s not correct. You can absolutely succeed without Bookbub, and your book will need to be somewhat successful already in order to have a chance with them anyway. Keep in mind that the reason they accepted Mini Habits is that it was already selling well, was rated 4.9 stars, and it had that combination of unique, but relevant I mentioned earlier. Bookbub just took my book’s success to the next level.

Bookbub isn’t the only one, either. There are dozens of other ebook promotion services. Many of them will give you disappointing results, so be careful and google “[their name] results” to see others’ experiences with them. I’ve found this to be a reliable way to see if a promotion is worth it or not. I’ll go ahead and tell you that Pixel of Ink and eReaderNewsToday are the other two to look at first.

 

Alternative Promotion Strategies

Guest posting—I’ve had success with guest posting and linking to my book in my bio. As expected, it works best when the post is related to the topic of your book. This is easier for non-fiction writers, since the content is suitable for a larger number of blogs.

Funnels—This isn’t a “best-selling first book” approach because it requires multiple books, but many authors have success with funnels. An example of a funnel is having the first book in a series free, which draws in a larger amount of people than a for-sale book would. Then, the second book in the series might cost $2.99, and readers who get “hooked” on the first book will likely purchase the second book. After that, maybe you’ll sell them an even higher priced book or related product. The idea of a funnel is to ask for very little at first until you build trust with the reader. If your books are good, it works very well. If people read your first book and hate it, well, you know…

Advertising—Conventional advertising with Google adwords or Facebook is always an option. I don’t do it, but it’s another way to get sales and increase awareness of your book. Just keep a close eye on your ROI, because losing a lot of money for a few sales isn’t ideal.

GoodreadsYou must get on Goodreads if you’re an author. It’s like the world’s biggest book club. I’ve run two paperback giveaways through Goodreads, and I can’t say it’s done a lot for sales, but I don’t know that for sure. It has greatly increased my presence on Goodreads, which can only help. My guess is that it’s had a small-to-moderate positive long term impact on sales (but no short-term sales boosts).

 

Conclusion

The truth is that most authors give their books absolutely no chance to rise to the top. First, position your book to succeed, and it will have a chance to be read. If it’s read and people love it, it might just become the next blockbuster. But don’t let that get you too excited or discouraged—there’s a middle ground. There are a lot of authors just like me who aren’t in the paper, but are still making a decent living from their book(s).

Unlike any time before now, every writer has a chance. The gatekeepers have been overthrown with the rise of self-publishing. Now it’s the wild west, and these strategies will help you compete.

Check out my book "Mini Habits" to discover the life-changing strategy of taking small, daily actions. Mini Habits has sold 80,000+ copies worldwide. I'm Stephen Guise, the founder of Deep Existence, a blog about focusing, habits, and the power of small steps. Join Deep Existence to gain access to more than 50 exclusive articles, download 40 "focus wallpapers," and read my stress management book for free!

Advertisement
11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Cloris Kylie

    Oct 16, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    Spot on, Stephen! Great article! This is exactly what I share with my clients–who are authors wanting to sell more books. Thank you!

  2. Cindy Griffin

    May 13, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    My debut novel is a rock romance and currently at the editor. I wanted to thank you for this article with all of these helpful suggestions. I never considered when I started writing that I would need to be a publisher and have a marketing degree! I simply wanted to write great books.
    Through Internet searches I have now learned so much valuable information about both areas, more than I want to know actually. I am going to follow your advice from these steps and see how my book does. The info makes the most sense to me from ALL of the publishing tips out there (there must be 1000s).
    I do not want to jumble my mind with publishing and marketing info. As I said, I simply want to write great books.

  3. James Jean-Pierre

    May 6, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Took me a while to land on this post and I can’t say I regret it. I’ve read a lot of posts, and I mean a lot, but this is different, not repeating the same thing everyone else is.

    The three promotions you suggested, I found a while back but had put them in a don’t use folder, but I will bring them back to see if I should reconsider. Thanks a lot, this was really helpful.

  4. Lidiya K

    Jan 17, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Excellent advise! Thanks for the article.

  5. Rev. g

    Nov 21, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    This was very helpful. Currently in the process of the ‘marketing stage’ of my first book and have just written my second. Both genres are spiritual/inspirational. The first is published and available in hard/soft covers and ebook (we used multiple platforms). I didn’t have much say in the pricing except for the ebook and after reading your article perhaps I need to lower the price (currently at $7.99) My 2nd book going to the production stage. I self-published with the help of a publisher. Since this is all very new to me, your tips have been extremely helpful. I look forward in using them – thanks again… This has truly been a learning yet positive experience!

  6. Mohammad Izdiyan Muttaqin

    Aug 17, 2014 at 7:08 am

    thank you very much for sharing it is a really valuable lessons, i am really motivated to try it

  7. Phil Janecic

    Aug 16, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    This is an awesome post! I’ll be publishing in the future so this was full of really useful information. I only have one question – you only covered the “ebook” part. I see that Amazon also offers your book as paperback.

    How do you set up publishing physical books? I can only assume it’s expensive and complicated.

    • Stephen

      Aug 18, 2014 at 3:55 pm

      Thanks Phil. If you publish your paperback through Createspace (amazon Subsidiary), it’s the opposite of expensive and complicated.

      1. Format the book to look good on paperback (this is the hardest part because you have to wrestle with word processing software). As opposed to the ebook, you’ll need page headers, page numbers, etc.

      2. Have your designer create a PDF cover.

      3. Upload the interior and cover for review and they’ll let you know of any issues you need to fix.

      4. I remember it being free. Then it’s print on demand and they take a cut.

      Createspace has info on how to format the interior and also the needed dimensions of the cover. But yeah, I was surprised at how easy it was.

      Cheers,
      Stephen

      • Phil Janecic

        Aug 20, 2014 at 8:45 pm

        Wow, sounds awesome. Thanks for the tips!

  8. Ben Kyle

    Aug 11, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    This is a great article….
    Writing and publishing(Point 3) a book is one thing, but getting it to top the charts is another.

    From what I’ve been able to observe and the extensive market research I’ve done there are a few specific ways you can become a bestselling author:

    1. Luck – think Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy

    2. Notoriety – think J.K. Rowling or Anthony Robbins – the simple fact of them publishing a new book almost guarantees it will shoot up the charts to #1.

    3. Buy your way to the top – many Internet gurus have been known to buy massive quantities of their own book when it first comes out and force the book to the top of the chart.

    4. Great writing(point 7) – this is how many new bestsellers reach that coveted position.

    5. Great marketing(point 8) – some authors wrote a decent book, but the power-house marketing behind the launch is what propelled them to the top of the charts.

    Other than the first way to become a bestselling author, I’d say that most of the other types of authors on the list become a bestseller by having a very clear and focused goal.

    By that I mean that you set in your mind that your book will top the charts, you hold that vision and you take massive action to make that happen.

    • Stephen

      Aug 12, 2014 at 6:04 pm

      Thanks, Ben.

      Based on your list, I think people should aim for #5 and work their way up to #1 as far as strategy goes (though I think #3 is unethical).

      I think that marketing makes a bigger difference than writing quality in many cases (it’s not ideal, but it seems to be the case). But you need both to have a sustainable presence on the bestseller list.

      And your last point is quite true. I believe so strongly in Mini Habits that I’ve been determined to make it highly visible and successful, and that’s helped. If I was half-hearted about the book I wrote or not confident in its value, it’d be much harder to promote it like I have.

      I love Amazon though. Their platform makes it more likely for the cream to rise to the top. Biases are negated through an impartial algorithm, which gives all writers a chance to succeed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Success Advice

How I Work Smarter: The Practical And Really Dumbed Down Strategies.

Published

on

Working Smarter. Productivity Hacks

I’m somewhat of a productivity freak. I like having time.

Time allows me to work smarter, and so I protect it like a rare and beautiful diamond. If you want to steal my time, you better be prepared for one hell of a battle. I’d happily give up money before I would ever give up time.

Here’s how I work smart and how you can do the same:

 

I take the stairs.

While everybody is lining up for the lift or going 1 meter every ten minutes on the escalator, I take the stairs. It keeps me fit and I get where I want to go faster. Nothing in life worth achieving is easy so get used to taking the stairs and doing some physical work.

 

I keep it simple (decision fatigue).

Water instead of wine/soft drink/coffee etc.
One big goal at any point in time instead of a to-do list of goals that lead nowhere.
One email address instead of multiple inboxes.
One computer and one phone instead of a Fitbit, laptop, phone, tablet and Apple Watch.

“Vanilla options are easy and low fuss. Decisions fatigue you”

 

I have lunch before midday.

Lunch can be done in 15 minutes. The trick is to buy or make your lunch before the rush. Standing in lines and getting frustrated is unnecessary. Get some time in your day back by doing lunch earlier. I recommend 11:45. With the extra time you gain back, try adding in 10 minutes of meditation.

 

Leave the car at home.

When I go to the city, I leave the car at home. By the time I get into the car, battle against the seven seas that is traffic and then get parking, I could have already been there by train or equivalent. This transit time also becomes my portable learning time. I use this time to listen to podcasts and audiobooks instead of having to think about driving.

 

One day a week in isolation.

Being alone with your thoughts and complete silence, once a week, makes you mega productive. A few moments of quietness are far more valuable than hours of busyness and noise. In complete isolation, you have no choice but to focus and complete your goals.

 

I use tiredness to do housework.

People hate tiredness. I love it. Tiredness tells me to stop working on my goals and do the things we all have to do like housework. I don’t need any energy or inspiration to do housework so why waste my high energy states on it?

Having said that, I aim to eliminate tiredness. This is a work in progress and requires exercise combined with an excellent diet. Until then, housework I love you!

 

Notifications are turned off except for SMS

That word “notifications” feels like grand larceny. Companies used to steal my time through notifications and now I’ve declared war on them. When you’re powering through a task, the last thing you want is an interruption in the form of a notification.

That small amount of time you spend getting distracted takes you out of the zone and away from the focused state you’re in. Go to settings and turn off notifications – especially Facebook.

 

I don’t play computer games.

As a kid, I loved computer games. That’s why I know to stay away from them as an adult because they are designed to get me to fight someone else’s mission. There’s no such thing as a quick game. Games are designed to keep you engaged and continually challenge you.

 

I get up before everybody else.

Yes, sir! I get up when it’s dark so I can do the big stuff first. Before the rest of the world can wake up and distract me, I’m getting my game on in the early hours of the morning. I really think you should wake up early. If you ignored everything else I said and just woke up early, I’d be proud.

 

I tell myself no before saying yes.

Yes has become a first world disease. You can’t work smart if you say yes to every offer that comes your way. That’s why I tell myself no first, and then try to convince myself of yes. If I can’t convince myself, I say no. Auto responding with yes answers will make you busy.

 

Busy is not smart.

If you think you are busy, and you verbally say so regularly, you’re not working smart. Busy is dumb. Busy will cripple your time and make your mindset go into meltdown. Humans can only focus on a small number of things so stop being busy!

Tell people the truth. Say no more. Guard your time. Avoid the trap of busy.

 

I chunk down big tasks.

If I have to give a big speech then in the same week, I move away any other big goals that might distract me. Too many big goals all in a small space of time can become overwhelming quickly. Stick to one or two big goals at a time and you’ll achieve a lot more. Less is more.

 

I own less stuff.

That way I don’t need to worry about maintaining things, securing things, thinking about objects, spending money on things I can’t afford. Sell, sell, sell yourself out of living the dumb life.

“Stuff does not equal progress; personal growth does and money can’t buy that”

 

I invest in dumb stuff.

With almost no knowledge, anyone can invest in index funds and not have to worry about the burden of trying to predict the next biggest thing. In reality, this strategy will probably beat all of the people who waste their lives away trying to be fortune tellers.

All I do is buy low-cost index funds of major economies like the USA. I invest the same amount each time so I’m not affected by the rise and fall of the stock market. Thank you, Tony Robbins and Warren Buffet for this strategy.

I don’t have video streaming.

Time looking at a screen is better spent reading a book. Fictional TV shows are not teaching me about life. Reading biographies, books about life lessons and the latest research in human psychology does that for me. One up on mediocrity and cancel your subscription.

 

Simplify your subscriptions.

Here’s the thing: Subscriptions equal time.

Companies have moved their business models to subscriptions because it helps keep you engaged and addicted to what they have to sell because you’re paying a recurring fee for it. Delete as many subscriptions as you can. I have one for my meditation app, one for the gym and one for my writing software.

 

Delete apps from your reading device.

Okay, so I do use Kindle which means that there is a temptation to look at apps. Delete apps from your reading device so you can actually read.

 

I take summer holidays when everyone returns to the office.

In Australia, everyone goes away in December and January. I take my holidays when they return to work. This means:

– More time in the office when it’s less busy
– Cheaper flights and accommodation during low peak times
– More chances to step up to leader roles while others are away

Everything is just less busy when you holiday off-peak.

 

I avoid junk food during major goal weeks.

This week I have a public speaking competition. I need all the practice I can get which requires energy. That’s why, in big goal weeks like the one I’m in right now, I cut out junk food. Energy equals time. Do a cheat day to celebrate at the end if you must.

 

I split my resources like this.

– Travel
– Necessities like food, clothes and rent
– Money for family and my girlfriend
– Unplanned indulgences (cheat day)

A balanced life requires resources (money). Splitting your money across these four areas allows you to work smart. You only have to work dumb when you waste your resources and therefore have to work ten times harder than you need to. When in doubt, less is more.

 

Stimulants are neglected.

Coffee only makes us get the jitters and be nervous. I find when I’m on coffee I become more fearful. My relaxed state disappears.

 

I do regular breaks.

We’re not machines. I do regular breaks of trampoline, walking, and eating fresh food in-between hours of writing on the weekend.

 

I outsource stuff I’m bad at.

If I do things I’m horrible at, I do them badly. This stops me from working smart and can cause negativity. That’s why I outsource stuff I’m bad at wherever possible.

 

I get enough sleep.

7 hours works for me. You have to sleep otherwise you’ll get tired which will cause negativity and a poor quality of work. This “sleep when you’re dead” tend is a fallacy.

 

I value you my time.

I’ve placed a very high dollar value on my time. Because I consciously value it, I’m always reconciling how much time I have. By valuing your time, you become aware of it. You can’t focus on something you are not aware of.

 

I do phone first, instead of coffee catch-ups.

LinkedIn sends me multiple requests a day for coffee catch ups. Most of them don’t state any valid reason for the catch-up. Now if you just say no to them all you could be missing out on the gift of socializing, learning new things and meeting people you can do business with.

The hack I use is this: Always do the first conversation via phone. That way you can tell if there is value or a need for a coffee catch up.

Second hack: do a video call instead of an audio-only call. Video lets you see the other person and connect better. It’s more personal and you’ll quickly figure out if you need that coffee after all. I personally don’t drink coffee, so these sort of catch ups take me out of rapport with the other person from the start.

 

Happy partner, happy life.

I spend less time arguing because I do stuff that my partner wants to do even if I don’t. She does the same. This way everybody wins and I don’t need to waste time arguing and lighting a fire under my mindset that causes me to want to evacuate to the world of temptation (coffee, Netflix, games, useless crap).

 

I cheat on my phone regularly.

That’s right! I sleep around with any activity that doesn’t involve looking at my phone.

“The small glass window of my phone feels like such a tiny part of what the world has to offer. I choose to look out of the window of life instead and see limitless possibility”

 

I do exercise to boost my mindset.

Being smart is only possible when you have a positive mindset served on the side. Exercise has helped me relieve stress and get back to feeling good again. Do it.

 

I don’t allow people to steal my time.

People will gladly rob you of your time and waste it. They do this primarily because they have their own selfish goals, or they’re bored with life and wasting your time makes them feel better. Prosecute these time thieves’ by telling them your expectations and referencing your calendar if you have to.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

Continue Reading

Success Advice

7 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Own Success

Published

on

sabotaging your success

Success is your birthright. It is a mindset, ingrained within your identity. Let’s go in one step further. Success is a choice. When you believe you are worthy of success, you recognize your irrational thoughts, you break them down and replace them with a forward focus positive belief. You move from victimisation to becoming your own hero, your own inspiration. You ditch counterproductive self-critical patterns and undermine your success. You reject familiarity and choose expansion to build your confidence, character and conquer negativity bias.

The biggest obstacle in life you will face is you. Our brain is wired to value negative information more than positive information. Negativity bias affects every human being as you hold on to, ruminate and recall negative experiences more quickly. You undermine your progress, keep yourself stuck in bad habits and set up an unconscious platform for failure. People will default to the “devil you know” when placed under pressure. You create your own worst enemy – YOU.

If you think you have no power over your emotions, it’s time to learn how to manage your state, lead your feelings and choose the story of how you will respond.

Here are 7 ways you’re sabotaging your success:

1. You think mistakes are your failures

We start off with great intentions, confidence booming and iron clad attitude of “we have got this”. We make a mistake and then we squirm in our pants. Self-doubt manifests and within minutes it magnifies. Success feels like it has been ripped away from us.

Mistakes happen, and they happen often. Mistakes have the power to turn us into something better than we were before. When we adopt that failure is feedback, we embrace how mistakes are useful and necessary. Failure is moving forward. As Seth Godin highlights “if l fail more than you do, l win”. To disrupt the status quo in life, you need a gargantuan quantity of failure.

2. You think your past equates to your future

Each person has a past. What comes with past is opportunity for growth and it is your greatest teacher. You invested in taking a risk and have the golden moment to apply the lessons learnt. You get to choose who and how to be at any moment. Stop waiting for someone else to believe or validate you. Become your own hero.

“If you want to succeed in your life, remember this phrase: That past does not equal the future…All that matters is: What are you going to do, right now?” – Tony Robbins

3. You don’t appreciate what you already have

We live in a world where we measure success by the things we gain. We buy things to make us happy and we succeed temporarily. New things are exciting at first and then we adapt. The anticipation of a desired outcome is generally more satisfying than the outcome itself. Once we get what we want, we adapt and excitement fades. How often do you see children demanding a toy or their world will end? What’s crazier is how quickly their joy fades as they want something else. Once you appreciate what you currently have, more won’t make life better.

4. You ignore who you are becoming

To experience any level of success, you must be whatever it is you want to be (ie. Happy, satisfied, inspired), and start doing things from this space to create the things you will have. We attract into our lives what we are. Shawn Achor , Harvard psychologist, explains that science shows that happiness facilitates success.

Often people use affirmations as a basis for creating a mindset shift and to feed the unconscious mind with golden treasure. By writing in the positive and present tense, you create a platform to step into who you are being. This will determine what you need to do to step into who you are becoming.

5. You burn all your bridges

There is nothing more heartbreaking when people create any level of success and espouse that they are solely the driver of their success. People succumb to their environment and forget where they came from along with the sacrifices others made to support them in achieving their level of success. Having a level of humility and gratitude keeps your success in perspective.

6. You have a sense of entitlement

The 21st century is reaping of people feeling entitled. It is playing out throughout all generations whether it be driven by someone’s need for job security or a specific salary amount. Stop complaining and be grateful for your ability to contribute to the bigger picture and make a difference in the world. You need to work a little to earn the credibility and trust from your environment.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey

7. You don’t invest in working out the outcome, you wing it

Reverse engineering is where the game is played to create success. Start from the end and work backwards. As Stephen Covey in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People outlines “begin with the end in mind”. Once your clear, reverse engineer the Wildly Important Goal for the year and break down to quarterly, monthly and weekly goals. Then identify the 5 actions that you will take weekly to bring you closer to your success.

What are you doing to become successful? Let us know by commenting below!

Continue Reading

Success Advice

Want To Become Twice As Productive? Read This.

Published

on

Productivity Hacks. Steve Cutts

Productivity is how you find more time in your day to do what you love, and achieve greater results. It’s time to stop being lazy and make a few small changes that will help you win back extra time.

“Productivity is not about doing more; it’s about doing less”

After you’ve had a productive day, you feel so much better. The difficulty is that doing tasks that are on some never-ending to-do list creates a feeling of emptiness. To-do lists are not enough and they rarely make you more productive.

This is my very short, simple, no-brainer list of how you can become twice as productive:

 

Do the big stuff at the start of the day.

If you follow no other advice than this, then you’re already most of the way there. Start your day with the hardest, most fulfilling tasks. If there’s something you’ve been putting off, then do it when you first wake up the next day.

Save your boring and repetitive tasks like ironing and chasing up bills for late in the day when your energy starts to slump. I do my blogging in the morning and my housework just before I go to bed. This allows me to focus on trying to inspire people during the morning when I have the most energy and feel like I can do anything.

 

Chunk down and delete items off your to-do list.

Many tasks on your to-do list are actually part of the same single task. Chunk these tasks into one task. Next, take the tasks that are really not important and don’t matter to you, and consider deleting them off your to-do list.

Finally, don’t let other people’s tasks dominate the order in which you tackle your list. Do the tasks that serve you first. You’ll feel much better and more productive for doing so.

 

Phone over email for the win.

Never-ending text messages and emails lead nowhere. Instant messaging apps are not much better because the conversation never stops. Things get lost in translation and it’s tiring replying back on a tiny little keyboard while looking at a miniature little screen. Not to mention it makes you anti-social.

Be more productive by picking up the phone. A 5-minute conversation is way better than an endless line of messages that interrupt you from the task you’re focusing on each time a new response is received.

 

Have phone blackouts.

What’s this you ask? It’s blackout periods from your phone. Similar to a trading blackout if you’ve ever worked in a publically listed company. Have times of the day and week where you are banned from your phone. Enable flight mode, put it on silent, lock it in your car.

Escape from your phone so you can be focused and work without distraction for a set period of time. Avoid the temptation that has become your phone. The temptation that has become the destroyer of your success.

 

Don’t check social or email first thing.

Checking email and social media first thing in the morning sends your mind into reactive mode. Start your day with time to think and plan what you’re going to do. Be intentional about your day rather than let technology dictate what you’ll focus your time on and therefore what areas you’ll be productive at.

 

Schedule rest periods.

Always being on is not making you productive. We’re not robots, and we need to rest once in a while. Regular periods of rest, outside of sleep, allow us to be more productive. Chunk your day into blocks and rest in-between productive periods of work.

That rest might be eating a proper lunch, doing 10-minutes of meditation, listening to a podcast, or staring at your office window and doing absolutely nothing.

Give your mind space. It’s in these brief moments of nothingness that you will come up with the ideas, solutions and strategies to win in your career and in life. At the same time, it will make you productive.

 

Don’t lie to yourself.

“Creating a meeting, having a lunch, planning a strategy session and sending an email trick your brain into thinking you’re being productive rather than the truth: you do these things to put off doing the real work”

It allows you to be lazy and not think you’re being lazy. Look for ways to get to the solution or complete the task in the most productive way. If you find yourself not being in the mood for doing the hard work, schedule it for the next day, first thing in the morning.

It’s not that difficult to be productive. We can all do it with a little bit of effort and very focused discipline.

How do you increase your productivity?

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

Continue Reading

Success Advice

The Best Way to Accelerate Your Success According to James Altucher

Published

on

James Altucher

I recently interviewed author and serial entrepreneur James Altucher and asked him a simple question:  What is the best way to accelerate success in any endeavor? To which James gave me a golden nugget. Or maybe 3 golden nuggets. He gave me what he calls the plus (+), equals (=), and minus (-) process and it blew me away. So simple yet so profound.

The +: Find People who are far ahead of you in your field of endeavor and learn from them

There are 4 kinds of people who fall under this category: Real Mentors, Virtual Mentors, Coaches and stars. We need all of them in order to be able to accelerate our progress.

Real Mentors are people who you personally know, and they help you out in giving you guidance and feedback. Mentors are usually emotionally vested in your success and can be called upon to guide you when you need that help.  

Virtual Mentors are usually people you do not personally know but they still have a huge impact on your lives. They can be historic figures, great current figures, titans of industry or anyone you look up to but do not have any contact with. You can read their books, watch their videos and just absorb any knowledge they put out there.

Coaches are people who have an obligation to guide you in your journey. It could either be that they have been hired by you or your organization to help you move forward. In sports, coaching is a well established phenomenon. In fact, every team and every great sports figure has one or multiple coaches.

Stars are people who are crushing it in your field of endeavor. They are operating at a much higher level than you are. Your job is to find them and associate with them. What you will find is that when you start spending time with them, you will automatically start stepping up your game. When you see that someone else is able to do something, suddenly that becomes possible for you and you are able to break through that barrier.

This is something I also learned from Tony Robbins at one of his live seminars. He kept on saying that he had given us a lot of strategies to accelerate success, but there was one strategy that stood above all else. He called it “compressing decades into days.”  He said in order to compress decades into days, we must find people who are much better than us in that field of endeavor and learn from them.

“Without a mentor in life, one can easily succumb to folly. Without a mentor in life, one can easily become self-centered, capricious and arrogant.”

The =: Find equals in your current field of endeavor and work/grow with them

In order to grow fast, you must find peers who are at similar level to you in the field of endeavor and find ways to:

  • Associate with them
  • Spend time with them
  • Exchange ideas with them
  • Ask for their help
  • Help them
  • Compete with them

The reason this works so well is because your peers are going through similar challenges as you are. What you are struggling with, someone else might have figured out. What someone else is struggling with, you might have figured out.

Napoleon Hill talked about the power of mastermind in one of the greatest personal development books ever written called “Think and Grow Rich.” He defined it as “Coordination of knowledge and effort in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.” He goes on to say that masterminds have been the basis of nearly every great fortune.

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to start a mastermind group with your peers. If you are starting a business, go find people who are at a similar level to you and start a mastermind group with them. A mastermind group can be something as simple as a weekly meeting with 3 of your peers where each of you talk about the progress you made and the challenges you encountered.

The –: Find someone you can teach and help them

You might have often heard the saying that one of the best ways to learn something is to teach it. When you read something or listen to it or watch it you only absorb less than 50% of it. However, when you start teaching those ideas, your learning goes to a whole new level. That is because, in order to teach something you have to be able to break those ideas down, simplify them, and organize them into coherent structures.

In order to be able to teach, you need to have clarity in your own head about the ideas. Teaching requires a complete understanding of the concept. You can’t just “wing it.” Your student’s questions will force you to think deeper.

Teaching has a multitude of benefits which go beyond learning. Helping others can be incredibly gratifying and can make us feel much more fulfilled in our journey of life. Go find your protege.

“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” – Dalai Lama

So, if there is any area of life where you feel that your progress is slower than what you want in to be, examine your +/=/- and make changes accordingly.

How are you making sure you achieve your goals? Comment below and let us know!

Continue Reading

Trending

Motivation

Whenever I Am Fearful Of What People Think, I Do This.

Published

on

I’ve had some days recently where I’ve been plagued with that question “What will people think?”

“If I say that, will people hate it and could it ruin my career?”
‘If I say the truth and people dislike it, could that ruin an upcoming opportunity?”
‘If they don’t like it, will I ever get another chance?

Whenever I find myself becoming fearful of people’s opinions, I do this:

 

I compare their opinion to my mortality.

This is the main hack so let’s start with this. Whenever I find myself worrying about what people think and how it may affect my success, I remember that in the scheme of things I am only on this Earth for a short amount of time.

Anything that I say will likely be forgotten pretty quickly. People are so caught up in all the troubles of their own life that they don’t have space in their mind to remember all of my flaws and silly moments. So if people are highly unlikely to remember, then who cares what people think?

Comparing opinions to your own mortality is a fantastic way to get a reality check. This way of thinking always gets me out of my head. Death is a good motivator that will make you take action and not get caught up in your head trying to win a war against opinions.

 

I’d rather try for greatness than never know because of fear.

Being paralyzed by people’s opinions stops you from ever reaching your full potential. You end up second-guessing yourself and not taking certain actions out of fear for what people may think. You can’t enter their mind and steal their thoughts (not yet, anyway) so you’ll never know for sure.

Maybe people love what you said. Maybe what you hypothesize they’re thinking is wrong. So the truth is you’ll never know for sure.

“What I do know for sure is that greatness is within all of us and it can only be unleashed when you stop giving an F”

Greatness is achieved when you say what you think, you take vulnerable actions, you’re authentic and most of all, you don’t hold back. People’s opinions are holding you back and they don’t matter. What matters is your opinion of yourself.

 

What matters is you tried.

And your critics probably didn’t. By not being held back by opinions you end up trying things that you’d normally not do. Here are some of my own examples:

  • I went to a high interval training workout class. Normally I wouldn’t because I’m currently unfit, but because I don’t care what people think, I did it anyway and loved it.
  • I entered a public speaking competition and won against very tough competition. Normally I wouldn’t but I told myself that I can say cool stuff too.
  • I took a long plane trip overseas. Normally I wouldn’t because I have a fear of flying but because I’ve now flown enough times, flying is actually fun.
  • I started this whole blogging thing. Normally I wouldn’t of because I used to hate writing and found it dead boring. I thought people would think what I had to say was dumb. Then I discovered my passion for blogging and now it’s what I’m known for by millions of people

How much success are you leaving on the table by being shackled down with the opinions of others? Just do what you love and if people hate it then screw them. They’re obviously not your target audience or don’t get your unique talent. Giving it a go will show you more than doing nothing.

 

I think about not living my dream life.

If people’s horrible opinions of you are weighing you down, then try this reverse hack: Think about what would happen if you didn’t live your dream.

Whenever I second guess myself about giving a talk, I think about what would happen if I never discovered this whole inspiring others gift that I had secretly hidden inside of me.

When you weigh up in your head the difference between people’s thoughts of you, and living your dream life, you’ll find your mind always pushing towards the later. Use this super-sized hack to destroy your fear of opinions.

 

I remind myself of what the great’s do.

If fear of public reticule is holding me back, I think in my mind about what the greats would do. Would Steve Jobs let someone tell him that his phone needs more buttons?

“Would Martin Luther King let someone tell him that black people’s rights don’t matter and to stay at home today by the warm fire? Not in a million, trillion years”

So if the greats wouldn’t allow opinions to stop them in their tracks, why the heck would you?

 

I think of what I’m doing in comparison to the world.

An excellent way to put your actions and the opinions about them into perspective is to compare what you’re doing with the world. If you say something stupid in front of your co-workers, in the scheme of things, does that one event change the rest of the world?

Does your little mistake really matter compared with the billions of other mistakes that are happening at the same moment? Probably not.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared hundreds of thousands of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around success, personal development, motivation, and entrepreneurship. During the day Tim works with the most iconic tech companies in the world, as an adviser, to assist them in expanding into Australia. By night, Tim coaches his students on the principles of personal development and the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net or through his Facebook.

Advertisement
11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Cloris Kylie

    Oct 16, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    Spot on, Stephen! Great article! This is exactly what I share with my clients–who are authors wanting to sell more books. Thank you!

  2. Cindy Griffin

    May 13, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    My debut novel is a rock romance and currently at the editor. I wanted to thank you for this article with all of these helpful suggestions. I never considered when I started writing that I would need to be a publisher and have a marketing degree! I simply wanted to write great books.
    Through Internet searches I have now learned so much valuable information about both areas, more than I want to know actually. I am going to follow your advice from these steps and see how my book does. The info makes the most sense to me from ALL of the publishing tips out there (there must be 1000s).
    I do not want to jumble my mind with publishing and marketing info. As I said, I simply want to write great books.

  3. James Jean-Pierre

    May 6, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Took me a while to land on this post and I can’t say I regret it. I’ve read a lot of posts, and I mean a lot, but this is different, not repeating the same thing everyone else is.

    The three promotions you suggested, I found a while back but had put them in a don’t use folder, but I will bring them back to see if I should reconsider. Thanks a lot, this was really helpful.

  4. Lidiya K

    Jan 17, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Excellent advise! Thanks for the article.

  5. Rev. g

    Nov 21, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    This was very helpful. Currently in the process of the ‘marketing stage’ of my first book and have just written my second. Both genres are spiritual/inspirational. The first is published and available in hard/soft covers and ebook (we used multiple platforms). I didn’t have much say in the pricing except for the ebook and after reading your article perhaps I need to lower the price (currently at $7.99) My 2nd book going to the production stage. I self-published with the help of a publisher. Since this is all very new to me, your tips have been extremely helpful. I look forward in using them – thanks again… This has truly been a learning yet positive experience!

  6. Mohammad Izdiyan Muttaqin

    Aug 17, 2014 at 7:08 am

    thank you very much for sharing it is a really valuable lessons, i am really motivated to try it

  7. Phil Janecic

    Aug 16, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    This is an awesome post! I’ll be publishing in the future so this was full of really useful information. I only have one question – you only covered the “ebook” part. I see that Amazon also offers your book as paperback.

    How do you set up publishing physical books? I can only assume it’s expensive and complicated.

    • Stephen

      Aug 18, 2014 at 3:55 pm

      Thanks Phil. If you publish your paperback through Createspace (amazon Subsidiary), it’s the opposite of expensive and complicated.

      1. Format the book to look good on paperback (this is the hardest part because you have to wrestle with word processing software). As opposed to the ebook, you’ll need page headers, page numbers, etc.

      2. Have your designer create a PDF cover.

      3. Upload the interior and cover for review and they’ll let you know of any issues you need to fix.

      4. I remember it being free. Then it’s print on demand and they take a cut.

      Createspace has info on how to format the interior and also the needed dimensions of the cover. But yeah, I was surprised at how easy it was.

      Cheers,
      Stephen

      • Phil Janecic

        Aug 20, 2014 at 8:45 pm

        Wow, sounds awesome. Thanks for the tips!

  8. Ben Kyle

    Aug 11, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    This is a great article….
    Writing and publishing(Point 3) a book is one thing, but getting it to top the charts is another.

    From what I’ve been able to observe and the extensive market research I’ve done there are a few specific ways you can become a bestselling author:

    1. Luck – think Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy

    2. Notoriety – think J.K. Rowling or Anthony Robbins – the simple fact of them publishing a new book almost guarantees it will shoot up the charts to #1.

    3. Buy your way to the top – many Internet gurus have been known to buy massive quantities of their own book when it first comes out and force the book to the top of the chart.

    4. Great writing(point 7) – this is how many new bestsellers reach that coveted position.

    5. Great marketing(point 8) – some authors wrote a decent book, but the power-house marketing behind the launch is what propelled them to the top of the charts.

    Other than the first way to become a bestselling author, I’d say that most of the other types of authors on the list become a bestseller by having a very clear and focused goal.

    By that I mean that you set in your mind that your book will top the charts, you hold that vision and you take massive action to make that happen.

    • Stephen

      Aug 12, 2014 at 6:04 pm

      Thanks, Ben.

      Based on your list, I think people should aim for #5 and work their way up to #1 as far as strategy goes (though I think #3 is unethical).

      I think that marketing makes a bigger difference than writing quality in many cases (it’s not ideal, but it seems to be the case). But you need both to have a sustainable presence on the bestseller list.

      And your last point is quite true. I believe so strongly in Mini Habits that I’ve been determined to make it highly visible and successful, and that’s helped. If I was half-hearted about the book I wrote or not confident in its value, it’d be much harder to promote it like I have.

      I love Amazon though. Their platform makes it more likely for the cream to rise to the top. Biases are negated through an impartial algorithm, which gives all writers a chance to succeed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Success Advice

How I Work Smarter: The Practical And Really Dumbed Down Strategies.

Published

on

Working Smarter. Productivity Hacks

I’m somewhat of a productivity freak. I like having time.

Time allows me to work smarter, and so I protect it like a rare and beautiful diamond. If you want to steal my time, you better be prepared for one hell of a battle. I’d happily give up money before I would ever give up time.

Here’s how I work smart and how you can do the same:

 

I take the stairs.

While everybody is lining up for the lift or going 1 meter every ten minutes on the escalator, I take the stairs. It keeps me fit and I get where I want to go faster. Nothing in life worth achieving is easy so get used to taking the stairs and doing some physical work.

 

I keep it simple (decision fatigue).

Water instead of wine/soft drink/coffee etc.
One big goal at any point in time instead of a to-do list of goals that lead nowhere.
One email address instead of multiple inboxes.
One computer and one phone instead of a Fitbit, laptop, phone, tablet and Apple Watch.

“Vanilla options are easy and low fuss. Decisions fatigue you”

 

I have lunch before midday.

Lunch can be done in 15 minutes. The trick is to buy or make your lunch before the rush. Standing in lines and getting frustrated is unnecessary. Get some time in your day back by doing lunch earlier. I recommend 11:45. With the extra time you gain back, try adding in 10 minutes of meditation.

 

Leave the car at home.

When I go to the city, I leave the car at home. By the time I get into the car, battle against the seven seas that is traffic and then get parking, I could have already been there by train or equivalent. This transit time also becomes my portable learning time. I use this time to listen to podcasts and audiobooks instead of having to think about driving.

 

One day a week in isolation.

Being alone with your thoughts and complete silence, once a week, makes you mega productive. A few moments of quietness are far more valuable than hours of busyness and noise. In complete isolation, you have no choice but to focus and complete your goals.

 

I use tiredness to do housework.

People hate tiredness. I love it. Tiredness tells me to stop working on my goals and do the things we all have to do like housework. I don’t need any energy or inspiration to do housework so why waste my high energy states on it?

Having said that, I aim to eliminate tiredness. This is a work in progress and requires exercise combined with an excellent diet. Until then, housework I love you!

 

Notifications are turned off except for SMS

That word “notifications” feels like grand larceny. Companies used to steal my time through notifications and now I’ve declared war on them. When you’re powering through a task, the last thing you want is an interruption in the form of a notification.

That small amount of time you spend getting distracted takes you out of the zone and away from the focused state you’re in. Go to settings and turn off notifications – especially Facebook.

 

I don’t play computer games.

As a kid, I loved computer games. That’s why I know to stay away from them as an adult because they are designed to get me to fight someone else’s mission. There’s no such thing as a quick game. Games are designed to keep you engaged and continually challenge you.

 

I get up before everybody else.

Yes, sir! I get up when it’s dark so I can do the big stuff first. Before the rest of the world can wake up and distract me, I’m getting my game on in the early hours of the morning. I really think you should wake up early. If you ignored everything else I said and just woke up early, I’d be proud.

 

I tell myself no before saying yes.

Yes has become a first world disease. You can’t work smart if you say yes to every offer that comes your way. That’s why I tell myself no first, and then try to convince myself of yes. If I can’t convince myself, I say no. Auto responding with yes answers will make you busy.

 

Busy is not smart.

If you think you are busy, and you verbally say so regularly, you’re not working smart. Busy is dumb. Busy will cripple your time and make your mindset go into meltdown. Humans can only focus on a small number of things so stop being busy!

Tell people the truth. Say no more. Guard your time. Avoid the trap of busy.

 

I chunk down big tasks.

If I have to give a big speech then in the same week, I move away any other big goals that might distract me. Too many big goals all in a small space of time can become overwhelming quickly. Stick to one or two big goals at a time and you’ll achieve a lot more. Less is more.

 

I own less stuff.

That way I don’t need to worry about maintaining things, securing things, thinking about objects, spending money on things I can’t afford. Sell, sell, sell yourself out of living the dumb life.

“Stuff does not equal progress; personal growth does and money can’t buy that”

 

I invest in dumb stuff.

With almost no knowledge, anyone can invest in index funds and not have to worry about the burden of trying to predict the next biggest thing. In reality, this strategy will probably beat all of the people who waste their lives away trying to be fortune tellers.

All I do is buy low-cost index funds of major economies like the USA. I invest the same amount each time so I’m not affected by the rise and fall of the stock market. Thank you, Tony Robbins and Warren Buffet for this strategy.

I don’t have video streaming.

Time looking at a screen is better spent reading a book. Fictional TV shows are not teaching me about life. Reading biographies, books about life lessons and the latest research in human psychology does that for me. One up on mediocrity and cancel your subscription.

 

Simplify your subscriptions.

Here’s the thing: Subscriptions equal time.

Companies have moved their business models to subscriptions because it helps keep you engaged and addicted to what they have to sell because you’re paying a recurring fee for it. Delete as many subscriptions as you can. I have one for my meditation app, one for the gym and one for my writing software.

 

Delete apps from your reading device.

Okay, so I do use Kindle which means that there is a temptation to look at apps. Delete apps from your reading device so you can actually read.

 

I take summer holidays when everyone returns to the office.

In Australia, everyone goes away in December and January. I take my holidays when they return to work. This means:

– More time in the office when it’s less busy
– Cheaper flights and accommodation during low peak times
– More chances to step up to leader roles while others are away

Everything is just less busy when you holiday off-peak.

 

I avoid junk food during major goal weeks.

This week I have a public speaking competition. I need all the practice I can get which requires energy. That’s why, in big goal weeks like the one I’m in right now, I cut out junk food. Energy equals time. Do a cheat day to celebrate at the end if you must.

 

I split my resources like this.

– Travel
– Necessities like food, clothes and rent
– Money for family and my girlfriend
– Unplanned indulgences (cheat day)

A balanced life requires resources (money). Splitting your money across these four areas allows you to work smart. You only have to work dumb when you waste your resources and therefore have to work ten times harder than you need to. When in doubt, less is more.

 

Stimulants are neglected.

Coffee only makes us get the jitters and be nervous. I find when I’m on coffee I become more fearful. My relaxed state disappears.

 

I do regular breaks.

We’re not machines. I do regular breaks of trampoline, walking, and eating fresh food in-between hours of writing on the weekend.

 

I outsource stuff I’m bad at.

If I do things I’m horrible at, I do them badly. This stops me from working smart and can cause negativity. That’s why I outsource stuff I’m bad at wherever possible.

 

I get enough sleep.

7 hours works for me. You have to sleep otherwise you’ll get tired which will cause negativity and a poor quality of work. This “sleep when you’re dead” tend is a fallacy.

 

I value you my time.

I’ve placed a very high dollar value on my time. Because I consciously value it, I’m always reconciling how much time I have. By valuing your time, you become aware of it. You can’t focus on something you are not aware of.

 

I do phone first, instead of coffee catch-ups.

LinkedIn sends me multiple requests a day for coffee catch ups. Most of them don’t state any valid reason for the catch-up. Now if you just say no to them all you could be missing out on the gift of socializing, learning new things and meeting people you can do business with.

The hack I use is this: Always do the first conversation via phone. That way you can tell if there is value or a need for a coffee catch up.

Second hack: do a video call instead of an audio-only call. Video lets you see the other person and connect better. It’s more personal and you’ll quickly figure out if you need that coffee after all. I personally don’t drink coffee, so these sort of catch ups take me out of rapport with the other person from the start.

 

Happy partner, happy life.

I spend less time arguing because I do stuff that my partner wants to do even if I don’t. She does the same. This way everybody wins and I don’t need to waste time arguing and lighting a fire under my mindset that causes me to want to evacuate to the world of temptation (coffee, Netflix, games, useless crap).

 

I cheat on my phone regularly.

That’s right! I sleep around with any activity that doesn’t involve looking at my phone.

“The small glass window of my phone feels like such a tiny part of what the world has to offer. I choose to look out of the window of life instead and see limitless possibility”

 

I do exercise to boost my mindset.

Being smart is only possible when you have a positive mindset served on the side. Exercise has helped me relieve stress and get back to feeling good again. Do it.

 

I don’t allow people to steal my time.

People will gladly rob you of your time and waste it. They do this primarily because they have their own selfish goals, or they’re bored with life and wasting your time makes them feel better. Prosecute these time thieves’ by telling them your expectations and referencing your calendar if you have to.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

Continue Reading

Success Advice

7 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Own Success

Published

on

sabotaging your success

Success is your birthright. It is a mindset, ingrained within your identity. Let’s go in one step further. Success is a choice. When you believe you are worthy of success, you recognize your irrational thoughts, you break them down and replace them with a forward focus positive belief. You move from victimisation to becoming your own hero, your own inspiration. You ditch counterproductive self-critical patterns and undermine your success. You reject familiarity and choose expansion to build your confidence, character and conquer negativity bias.

The biggest obstacle in life you will face is you. Our brain is wired to value negative information more than positive information. Negativity bias affects every human being as you hold on to, ruminate and recall negative experiences more quickly. You undermine your progress, keep yourself stuck in bad habits and set up an unconscious platform for failure. People will default to the “devil you know” when placed under pressure. You create your own worst enemy – YOU.

If you think you have no power over your emotions, it’s time to learn how to manage your state, lead your feelings and choose the story of how you will respond.

Here are 7 ways you’re sabotaging your success:

1. You think mistakes are your failures

We start off with great intentions, confidence booming and iron clad attitude of “we have got this”. We make a mistake and then we squirm in our pants. Self-doubt manifests and within minutes it magnifies. Success feels like it has been ripped away from us.

Mistakes happen, and they happen often. Mistakes have the power to turn us into something better than we were before. When we adopt that failure is feedback, we embrace how mistakes are useful and necessary. Failure is moving forward. As Seth Godin highlights “if l fail more than you do, l win”. To disrupt the status quo in life, you need a gargantuan quantity of failure.

2. You think your past equates to your future

Each person has a past. What comes with past is opportunity for growth and it is your greatest teacher. You invested in taking a risk and have the golden moment to apply the lessons learnt. You get to choose who and how to be at any moment. Stop waiting for someone else to believe or validate you. Become your own hero.

“If you want to succeed in your life, remember this phrase: That past does not equal the future…All that matters is: What are you going to do, right now?” – Tony Robbins

3. You don’t appreciate what you already have

We live in a world where we measure success by the things we gain. We buy things to make us happy and we succeed temporarily. New things are exciting at first and then we adapt. The anticipation of a desired outcome is generally more satisfying than the outcome itself. Once we get what we want, we adapt and excitement fades. How often do you see children demanding a toy or their world will end? What’s crazier is how quickly their joy fades as they want something else. Once you appreciate what you currently have, more won’t make life better.

4. You ignore who you are becoming

To experience any level of success, you must be whatever it is you want to be (ie. Happy, satisfied, inspired), and start doing things from this space to create the things you will have. We attract into our lives what we are. Shawn Achor , Harvard psychologist, explains that science shows that happiness facilitates success.

Often people use affirmations as a basis for creating a mindset shift and to feed the unconscious mind with golden treasure. By writing in the positive and present tense, you create a platform to step into who you are being. This will determine what you need to do to step into who you are becoming.

5. You burn all your bridges

There is nothing more heartbreaking when people create any level of success and espouse that they are solely the driver of their success. People succumb to their environment and forget where they came from along with the sacrifices others made to support them in achieving their level of success. Having a level of humility and gratitude keeps your success in perspective.

6. You have a sense of entitlement

The 21st century is reaping of people feeling entitled. It is playing out throughout all generations whether it be driven by someone’s need for job security or a specific salary amount. Stop complaining and be grateful for your ability to contribute to the bigger picture and make a difference in the world. You need to work a little to earn the credibility and trust from your environment.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey

7. You don’t invest in working out the outcome, you wing it

Reverse engineering is where the game is played to create success. Start from the end and work backwards. As Stephen Covey in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People outlines “begin with the end in mind”. Once your clear, reverse engineer the Wildly Important Goal for the year and break down to quarterly, monthly and weekly goals. Then identify the 5 actions that you will take weekly to bring you closer to your success.

What are you doing to become successful? Let us know by commenting below!

Continue Reading

Success Advice

Want To Become Twice As Productive? Read This.

Published

on

Productivity Hacks. Steve Cutts

Productivity is how you find more time in your day to do what you love, and achieve greater results. It’s time to stop being lazy and make a few small changes that will help you win back extra time.

“Productivity is not about doing more; it’s about doing less”

After you’ve had a productive day, you feel so much better. The difficulty is that doing tasks that are on some never-ending to-do list creates a feeling of emptiness. To-do lists are not enough and they rarely make you more productive.

This is my very short, simple, no-brainer list of how you can become twice as productive:

 

Do the big stuff at the start of the day.

If you follow no other advice than this, then you’re already most of the way there. Start your day with the hardest, most fulfilling tasks. If there’s something you’ve been putting off, then do it when you first wake up the next day.

Save your boring and repetitive tasks like ironing and chasing up bills for late in the day when your energy starts to slump. I do my blogging in the morning and my housework just before I go to bed. This allows me to focus on trying to inspire people during the morning when I have the most energy and feel like I can do anything.

 

Chunk down and delete items off your to-do list.

Many tasks on your to-do list are actually part of the same single task. Chunk these tasks into one task. Next, take the tasks that are really not important and don’t matter to you, and consider deleting them off your to-do list.

Finally, don’t let other people’s tasks dominate the order in which you tackle your list. Do the tasks that serve you first. You’ll feel much better and more productive for doing so.

 

Phone over email for the win.

Never-ending text messages and emails lead nowhere. Instant messaging apps are not much better because the conversation never stops. Things get lost in translation and it’s tiring replying back on a tiny little keyboard while looking at a miniature little screen. Not to mention it makes you anti-social.

Be more productive by picking up the phone. A 5-minute conversation is way better than an endless line of messages that interrupt you from the task you’re focusing on each time a new response is received.

 

Have phone blackouts.

What’s this you ask? It’s blackout periods from your phone. Similar to a trading blackout if you’ve ever worked in a publically listed company. Have times of the day and week where you are banned from your phone. Enable flight mode, put it on silent, lock it in your car.

Escape from your phone so you can be focused and work without distraction for a set period of time. Avoid the temptation that has become your phone. The temptation that has become the destroyer of your success.

 

Don’t check social or email first thing.

Checking email and social media first thing in the morning sends your mind into reactive mode. Start your day with time to think and plan what you’re going to do. Be intentional about your day rather than let technology dictate what you’ll focus your time on and therefore what areas you’ll be productive at.

 

Schedule rest periods.

Always being on is not making you productive. We’re not robots, and we need to rest once in a while. Regular periods of rest, outside of sleep, allow us to be more productive. Chunk your day into blocks and rest in-between productive periods of work.

That rest might be eating a proper lunch, doing 10-minutes of meditation, listening to a podcast, or staring at your office window and doing absolutely nothing.

Give your mind space. It’s in these brief moments of nothingness that you will come up with the ideas, solutions and strategies to win in your career and in life. At the same time, it will make you productive.

 

Don’t lie to yourself.

“Creating a meeting, having a lunch, planning a strategy session and sending an email trick your brain into thinking you’re being productive rather than the truth: you do these things to put off doing the real work”

It allows you to be lazy and not think you’re being lazy. Look for ways to get to the solution or complete the task in the most productive way. If you find yourself not being in the mood for doing the hard work, schedule it for the next day, first thing in the morning.

It’s not that difficult to be productive. We can all do it with a little bit of effort and very focused discipline.

How do you increase your productivity?

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

Continue Reading

Success Advice

The Best Way to Accelerate Your Success According to James Altucher

Published

on

James Altucher

I recently interviewed author and serial entrepreneur James Altucher and asked him a simple question:  What is the best way to accelerate success in any endeavor? To which James gave me a golden nugget. Or maybe 3 golden nuggets. He gave me what he calls the plus (+), equals (=), and minus (-) process and it blew me away. So simple yet so profound.

The +: Find People who are far ahead of you in your field of endeavor and learn from them

There are 4 kinds of people who fall under this category: Real Mentors, Virtual Mentors, Coaches and stars. We need all of them in order to be able to accelerate our progress.

Real Mentors are people who you personally know, and they help you out in giving you guidance and feedback. Mentors are usually emotionally vested in your success and can be called upon to guide you when you need that help.  

Virtual Mentors are usually people you do not personally know but they still have a huge impact on your lives. They can be historic figures, great current figures, titans of industry or anyone you look up to but do not have any contact with. You can read their books, watch their videos and just absorb any knowledge they put out there.

Coaches are people who have an obligation to guide you in your journey. It could either be that they have been hired by you or your organization to help you move forward. In sports, coaching is a well established phenomenon. In fact, every team and every great sports figure has one or multiple coaches.

Stars are people who are crushing it in your field of endeavor. They are operating at a much higher level than you are. Your job is to find them and associate with them. What you will find is that when you start spending time with them, you will automatically start stepping up your game. When you see that someone else is able to do something, suddenly that becomes possible for you and you are able to break through that barrier.

This is something I also learned from Tony Robbins at one of his live seminars. He kept on saying that he had given us a lot of strategies to accelerate success, but there was one strategy that stood above all else. He called it “compressing decades into days.”  He said in order to compress decades into days, we must find people who are much better than us in that field of endeavor and learn from them.

“Without a mentor in life, one can easily succumb to folly. Without a mentor in life, one can easily become self-centered, capricious and arrogant.”

The =: Find equals in your current field of endeavor and work/grow with them

In order to grow fast, you must find peers who are at similar level to you in the field of endeavor and find ways to:

  • Associate with them
  • Spend time with them
  • Exchange ideas with them
  • Ask for their help
  • Help them
  • Compete with them

The reason this works so well is because your peers are going through similar challenges as you are. What you are struggling with, someone else might have figured out. What someone else is struggling with, you might have figured out.

Napoleon Hill talked about the power of mastermind in one of the greatest personal development books ever written called “Think and Grow Rich.” He defined it as “Coordination of knowledge and effort in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.” He goes on to say that masterminds have been the basis of nearly every great fortune.

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to start a mastermind group with your peers. If you are starting a business, go find people who are at a similar level to you and start a mastermind group with them. A mastermind group can be something as simple as a weekly meeting with 3 of your peers where each of you talk about the progress you made and the challenges you encountered.

The –: Find someone you can teach and help them

You might have often heard the saying that one of the best ways to learn something is to teach it. When you read something or listen to it or watch it you only absorb less than 50% of it. However, when you start teaching those ideas, your learning goes to a whole new level. That is because, in order to teach something you have to be able to break those ideas down, simplify them, and organize them into coherent structures.

In order to be able to teach, you need to have clarity in your own head about the ideas. Teaching requires a complete understanding of the concept. You can’t just “wing it.” Your student’s questions will force you to think deeper.

Teaching has a multitude of benefits which go beyond learning. Helping others can be incredibly gratifying and can make us feel much more fulfilled in our journey of life. Go find your protege.

“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” – Dalai Lama

So, if there is any area of life where you feel that your progress is slower than what you want in to be, examine your +/=/- and make changes accordingly.

How are you making sure you achieve your goals? Comment below and let us know!

Continue Reading

Trending