Eliminate Information Overload


If you’ve ever experienced even a twinge of information overload, here’s a unique solution that will get to the root cause of the problem once and for all.

From what I can see, most recommended solutions are Band-Aids at best. That’s because they only deal with the symptoms you’re feeling and not the root cause. So they never really eliminate the problem once and for all.

Since the cause of information overload isn’t obvious, let me ask you a question.

Back when you were in school, did you ever get nervous before a test?

Almost everyone I’ve asked has always said “yes.” Primarily because there’s always some worry about the information you’ll need to understand and hold in your memory once you sit down to take the test.

If you’ve ever asked a teacher "Is this going to be on the test?" – like when you had to memorize the times and dates of obscure Civil War battles – you know that feeling of anxiety.

Of course, the answer you were silently praying to hear was always "NO."

The reason is clear: You know what you know, but at that moment you were also keenly aware of what you didn’t currently know.

For most of us it’s what we know we don’t know that is so scary. And that fear never goes away no matter how many tests you’ve aced in the past.

The subtext of the question "Is this going to be on the test?" is another question: "I don’t want to waste my brains on information that isn’t relevant to my immediate future, so do I really need to know this?" The feeling is so prevalent in school because we often find ourselves studying and being tested on information in which we have very little interest.

Somehow, when we become entrepreneurs, we forget this survival mechanism from our past. Rather than getting very clear about what we already know and what we still need to know to do well (like we did when we were students), we chase scattered information from everywhere – considering all sources we think might have something useful to share. The net effect is we waste our time, our resources, and our intellectual capital in pursuit of new discoveries. And within the blink of an eye, we become victims of information overload.

There is an underlying cause for our haphazard information gathering and it’s resulting information overload. Believe it or not, it comes down to self-esteem.

You see, instead of trusting what we already know, we’re afraid of everything that we don’t know. It’s this fear that becomes the road that takes us off course. We’re trying to prepare for the non-existent test that has EVERYTHING on it and it leads us down a rabbit hole of procrastination that kills productivity.

You may even be on that “bunny trail” right now.

Serious online entrepreneurs are arguably still students themselves. They are searching for solutions and strategies that give them an edge. But it’s self-directed learning, so those of us who succeed develop the profitable ability to focus on what information matters most to our core business goals.

In baseball terms, entrepreneurs can “drive the fastball” when it comes our way, no matter the velocity. We know it is coming and we are ready when it arrives. But as soon as someone throws us a curveball by introducing something new, it challenges our comfort zone. We’re left flailing and unsure of ourselves.

Believe me, I know the feeling.

And that, my friend, is all it takes to get the anxiety wheels rolling. Doubt creeps in, self-confidence plummets, and market opportunity is lost. Spooky, isn’t it? And it can happen in an instant.

We’re left thinking and worrying about the curve ball as the fastball whizzes by. In shock, we ask ourselves, “How could this happen to me?”

This scenario occurs each day with business leaders who experience information overload.

Entrepreneurs are bombarded by information. Not all of it is beneficial to their business goals. Yet, if you try to absorb it all – if you feel a need to gain and retain all information – you’ll lose sight of what is most important. You end up frazzled and overwhelmed – the proverbial “deer in the headlights” paralyzed by fear and unable to avoid certain disaster.

The net effect of the info-overload is that we diminish our ability to discern the great from the good and, in the process, make ourselves mediocre by measure.

Through our abundance and ambivalence, we lose our business edge – and profitability suffers.

Don’t become a paralyzed entrepreneur mesmerized by the flashy headlights of all the information coming at you. You have to push yourself away from the bountiful harvest of information and only select what you truly need to fuel your business growth.

Another great way to look at it is similar to the way we are told to look at food. I’m sure you’ve heard the fitness mantra, “food is fuel.” The same can be said for the role information plays in your life. Anything more than you need will just leave you bloated, inefficient and insecure.

It’s time to start trusting your instincts more. You have to be confident enough to work intelligently toward your goals – whether it is passing an exam or developing a profitable Web site. What you absolutely must not allow to happen is to become paralyzed by the fear of not knowing "everything" and the fear of failure in the absence of knowing exactly what you must know and what you don’t know.

In fact, the ability to make decisions in the face of ambiguity (like this) is a key trait of successful entrepreneurs. Your expertise in this area comes from experience.

There’s an old adage: “No one is an expert in his own backyard.” It’s relevant for entrepreneurs who struggle with information anxiety.

Like Boy Scouts we should “always be prepared,” but we can’t assume that we’ll be perfect. We can’t possibly “know it all” and we can’t expect everyone to believe that we do, despite what Stuart Smalley tells us to repeat to ourselves in the mirror: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darn it . . . people like me.”

So, value what you know already. It’s a lot more than you probably give yourself credit for. Real growth, the type that translates into wealth, is more often accumulated through your direct experience. You can search for more knowledge – Hey, I spend time daily searching for the latest and greatest ­ but I don’t discount the value of the wisdom I already possess, and you shouldn’t either.

Odds are, unlike me, you’ve never read a sales letter written to sell the knowledge you already have trapped inside your brain. But take it from someone who knows: If you had my close friend, world-class copywriter John Carlton, pitching your ideas, you would immediately place a lot more value on what you already know (You’d also get a lot more buyers).

Too often we take for granted what is already familiar to us. We devalue our own knowledge gained through experience in favor of “outside sources.” We erroneously place a higher premium on information that others create and sell. This is seemingly contrary to entrepreneurial impulse, yet it happens again and again.

Remember: You cannot conquer uncertainty by burying it with more information.

Wisdom comes not from devouring information, but by filtering it through personal experience and taking action on it. It’s the action or reaction, not the information itself, that makes us wise.

I have much more to share with you about this, but first I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Do you see this as a pattern in your own lives? Are you constantly devaluing your own knowledge – minimizing your own experience – in your quest for greater wisdom? Let me know by commenting on our blog.

What are some of your secrets for remaining confident and making decisions in the face of ambiguity?

How do you overcome the feeling of inadequacy when faced with overwhelming amounts of information that seem important, but you’re just not sure?

My readers are a sharp bunch. I know you’ll have some great tips and suggestions to share.

We’ll follow-up in another blog post with a continuation of this conversation. I’m looking forward to your ideas.

To Higher Profits,
Rich Schefren

P.S. The Attention Age Doctrine continues to move forward. Me and the entire Strategic Profits team are busily preparing the next installment. For a “retro” trip back to our previous media reports, get your keys to the Profit Vault here:


Are You Having Any Fun?


Today I’m going to share with you one of the secrets to boosting your productivity and how to inject a lot more fun into your life.

It’s an important and transformational concept that’s simple to execute and you’ll get the benefits immediately. Actually, I’ve been eager to share it with you for quite some time, so I am really excited to get you started right now.

I’ve been so busy these past few weeks. Crazy schedules with the Acceleration2 seminar in Delray Beach, Fla., and a whirlwind of other business events have really tapped my resources of late, but the old energy is starting to come back. I’m feeling invigorated again, and not a moment too soon …

The past two months have been an amazing growth period in my professional life, and I hope in yours as well. In fact, this one technique I am going to share with you is one of the reasons for my company’s phenomenal growth. I’m really excited about the prospects of our future conversations about business, life, and how they meet at the intersection of success and opportunity.

I want to follow-up on my promise to you in a May 16 blog post. In that post I invited you and my other readers to share 20 fun things you like to do. I then promised you I would show you how to use this list to dramatically boost your productivity and be a lot more successful, a lot sooner.

I was amazed at the number of readers that responded. To date, 206 readers shared with the rest of us the fun activities they enjoy in their lives.

I had my staff turn all these wonderful responses into a pdf that you can download right here:

Now I’ll tell you the concept , why it’s so powerful, the exact steps you need to take and the results you can expect from this amazing productivity tip.

A core problem for a majority of entrepreneurs is that we fail to schedule fun into our day. We do this because we think we will get more done, but in reality this has the opposite effect. We end up becoming less effective, procrastinate more, become less focused, more burnt-out, irritable and stressed.

Most entrepreneurs valiantly squeeze all of the fun out of their day in order to schedule more time at work, as if hours in front of a computer somehow magically translate into additional income. But too much work and too little play has that all too common side effect of “work” time being wasted because we are simply not productive or can’t get started on the big projects.

I touched on this in the Internet Business Manifesto, and it’s worth a reminder here. If you are productive just four hours out of every day, as many entrepreneurs are, why insist on working 10 hours a day in spite of yourself? There are certainly better ways to improve our production, but adding more and more hours of procrastination, frustration, confusion and overwork just doesn’t seem the wise way to go.

You see, when you are staring at some big project that must get done, a part of you is thinking about how long it will take, and all the fun things you aren’t going to be able to do. When you start thinking this way it’s only natural to either procrastinate and postpone, or give a half-hearted effort.

So here’s the prescription:

I want you to go through the pdf we compiled for you – and pick out 21 activities that you would have fun doing and that you are capable of doing without too much additional effort. Then I want you to schedule one activity per day right on your calendar in the middle of your day. The only condition is, it must be something you really look forward to doing.

Once again, you can download that comprehensive list right here.

I can hear you screaming, "But when am I going to get all my work done?"

Here’s the counter-intuitive reality you’ll experience:

You’ll be much more inclined to work before you experience your fun activity (like gleefully completing all of your nagging tasks before leaving on vacation) and you’ll be much more productive and efficient while doing the work.

Why? Because you now have your fun activity breathing down your back forcing you to get as much done before you HAVE TO go enjoy yourself.

It’s time for you to commit to adding fun activities each day into your life, for the betterment of yourself, your business, your family and your community. Stated more simply, have fun each day and you’ll be more successful.

If you aren’t already enjoying each and every day, you are missing out on something tremendous. If you’re ready to make more and enjoy your life to the fullest, here’s all you have to do:

Step 1 – Review the pdf and highlight, underline or check the activities that you believe you would enjoy, that you can do without too much coordination with others, and can be completed from start to finish in less than two hours (you must come up with at least 21 of them).

Step 2 – Keep that list handy and break out your calendar, your to-do list, or whatever you use to schedule your day. Be proactive, start scheduling fun activities right now. Go ahead, really reward yourself. Do it for the next 21 days, I promise it will be worth it.

Step 3 – Whatever you do, don’t break the pattern. Make sure you do this each and every day. You’ll find yourself looking forward to new and fun events as you come up with more and more of them. By making them a central part of your day, and by including others, you’ll get the real benefit of refocusing your attention on what matters, and away from what manages to drive you nuts and suck the life out of your business.

Remember: Fun is an infinitely refreshing resource and the more we dip into it, the better we’ll all be.

It is imperative to “schedule” some spontaneous play into your day. Be a child again. Make play a part of every day and learn to smile again. An added benefit will be the great ideas that come to you when you are out there having fun. (Haven’t you ever noticed that your best ideas come when you are away from your computer, work or office?)

Apply this seemingly simple principle – adding fun to every day – and you’ll find, in short order, that you will be more productive. You’ll feel more refreshed, less frustrated and increasingly eager to get your work done so you can race to the next fun item on your calendar. It’s a built-in reward system – the “workday candy” that we offer ourselves – that keeps us focused and going strong.

Get the list here…

Don’t you want to have more fun?

Just to be clear, the key to the “21 things you enjoy” exercise is not to shirk work or otherwise diminish your self-worth and work responsibilities. Quite the contrary. Scheduling more guilt-free play in your life can attack the underlying causes of procrastination, lack of focus and marginalized results. It’ll make you a much more productive, lively and enjoyable person. I promise!

It’s time to change the way we speak to ourselves about our work. It’s time for a total attitude change when it comes to looking through our own prism of productivity.

The importance of play must be emphasized in business, particularly in an age that sucks us in through incessant information overload. You’ve heard me rail about this many times before.

There has to be a separation in life that provides a necessary “breather” in our busy schedules. Looking forward to fun activities allows us the oxygen to move forward with confidence and our full focus.

Should we throw away our career responsibilities, ignore pressing deadlines and avoid the hard work that needs to get done? Of course not. However, recognizing that we are more likely to work productively when we can anticipate pleasure and success can prove to be a tremendous advantage for our personal health and the health of our respective businesses as well.

Let me know what you think and what exciting ideas and inspirations have come from your newly scheduled fun time. Keep me and the rest of my readers updated on your success with this unconventional, yet highly rewarding strategy.

Now, go have some fun!

To Higher Profits,
Rich Schefren

P.S. I’ll have a lot more in store for you over the next few weeks, including the final installment of my Attention Age Doctrine.

If you are new to this blog or if you would just like to join in the fun – literally – check out the list of enjoyable things to do and add your own recommendations. Make sure fun is an important part of your day. Then post a comment to let me know how you made out.


Founders Video #2: THIS One Question Determines Your Fate Online


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Founders Video #2: THIS One Question Determines Your Fate Online


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Please Pay Attention!


Wow!

In less than 24 hours The Attention Age Doctrine has already been downloaded by over 21,538 online business builders.

Over 700 of them joined me as this afternoon when the legendary marketing genius Jay Abraham interviewed me for his elite private clients. And we have over 1,623 entrepreneurs who’ve registered for tomorrow’s call.

Amazingly enough (since we are always operating on the "bleeding edge" of technology) so many internet marketers have been downloading the doctrine (over a hundred downloaders at any given moment) many experienced a very slow download speed.

To remedy the situation we added two additional servers, and we’ve quadrupled our already substantial bandwidth.

So, if you personally had any problems downloading, I apologize for that… and my team has fixed the problem.

You can go get it now – right here.

And the feedback I’ve been getting is amazing. Both the good and the bad…

Look, whenever I release a report I get all types of feedback – both positive, and negative. It comes with being at the forefront.

When you can get people talking about you –good or bad – it means you have the market’s attention and this is exactly what I was talking about in The Attention Age Doctrine.

I explained in the personal note in the beginning of the Doctrine that due to timing I was forced to release an unfinished version. This may have been unclear for some who might have rushed through the doctrine based on a few emails I’ve received. Just so we’re clear it means that the 60+ pages is not the whole document, in fact it’s not even half of it, there’s a lot more coming.

So, in case someone reading missed that point…

— This is not the completed version
— There is no hidden agenda or top secret conspiracy to leave out information (LOL)
— The material released so far is the foundation and it’s critical to understand in its entirety to be able to profit from what’s coming.

So while I appreciate that some marketers and friends have tried to summarize my document – they are not doing the marketplace any good – because the strategies, tactics and big “ah-has” and takeaways are coming in the next segment of the doctrine.

While the manifesto trilogy was written in a way that each one stood on its own – the doctrine was meant to be one complete report.

Yet, I deliberately released just the first sections prematurely to the marketplace because:

As I stated in the Doctrine – based on the advice I received from Jay Abraham I would have done many a disservice had I not given them the opportunity to understand my current thinking and take advantage of the upcoming event, which is now less than two weeks away.

Based on the flood of sales that came in today for the July event it seems obvious many appreciated the invitation given in the early release of the unfinished doctrine.

There are two things I would like you to do from here:

1 – Listen to the call with Jay Abraham (it’s the best explanation of what my current thoughts are) here

2 – Although the doctrine is not complete I would really like to hear your thoughts – please post your comments to my blog, right here.

(I read each and every single comment each and every day)


Can you predict the future?


My last blog post was about the myth of retirement, and how it robs most people of the happiness they hope for. It really struck a nerve with many of my readers.

If you’ve been patiently waiting for my solution… your wait is over, the cavalry is charging ahead. And if your current situation seems hopeless, you’re in luck, because when we’re done you’ll have an answer that will definitely work for you.

How can I be so sure? Because what I am about to layout for you are the very same strategies guiding me and many of my famous clients.

But before we blitz down the trail together I need to point out a few of the more obvious signs along the way. You see, right now most people have a false sense of certainty about what they believe will be their likely future. Truth be told, most entrepreneurs’ envisioned future isn’t much different from an infant’s security blanket – they both don’t serve any real purpose other than providing a false sense of safety.

I know what I just wrote sounds cold, but think about it. Could you have predicted you current situation (good or bad) 5 years ago? How about 10 years ago? For anyone with even an ounce of ambition cycling through their veins the answer has to be “no.”

From what I gather, the single biggest reason for the gap between what we want and where we end up is perspective. Most people seem to be sleepwalking through life, with little awareness of where they are really heading and even less recognition for what’s going on around them.

So, before you can predict anything, you need to have a clue about the overall context – meaning the environment you currently operate in. You see, one of the biggest factors influencing your future will be how you interact with everything that’s going on around you. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Of course it does. So, let me ask you a question…

“Have you noticed how everything around us is changing so fast these days?”

Think about it. Just compare where the world is today to where it was just a few years ago.

Today, the best selling rap artist is white (Eminem), the most successful golfer is black (Tiger Woods), the tallest basketball player in the NBA is Chinese (Yao Ming), the French have been accusing Americans of being condescending and not caring about the views of foreigners, we now pay for water (bottled water is $9 a gallon) while music is free (sort of), and you need 9 different phone numbers to reach any two of your friends. I could go on and on…

Don’t make the mistake that the business world is somehow immune from the snowball of rapid change. I first noticed how uncertain the future is in the business world after reading Tom Peters’ and Robert Waterman’s book In Search Of Excellence. Peters and Waterman celebrated “excellence in companies that broke the mold”… Years later, these same companies were no longer excellent and the only thing that these excellent companies broke was their ability to survive and thrive.

Celebrated business guru Jim Collins author of bestselling books Built To Last, and Good To Great hasn’t been immune from the hyper-speed of business change either. The companies he profiled in Built To Last, did indeed last, although they weren’t exactly built to emulate.

Over half of Jim’s “visionary companies” have slipped dramatically in performance and reputation since the book’s release. These companies’ visions could now be better categorized as blurry rather than guiding. And chances are good that if he were to rewrite the book today companies like Ford, Sony, Boeing, Nordstrom, Merck, Motorola, and Disney wouldn’t even make his runner’s up list.

Just in case you mistakenly believe I am taking a shot at either Collins or Peters, I’m not. I wouldn’t even dare. These two men rank among my top five business heroes. But the point is obvious nonetheless. With everything changing so fast these days our futures are lot less predictable then ever before.

That’s why it’s no longer safe to assume that your tomorrow will be like today or yesterday, no matter how excellent you’ve been or how long you’ve been around. Moreover, the further you go out into the future the more your vision resembles a fairy tale.

Now before you go any further please read the prior paragraph again. Because when you face up to the hard cold reality that you really cannot be too certain about your future, you realize sacrificing everything for it (the whole retirement idea) doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Of course you and I both realize the future is going to come. And we all believe certain actions taken today will improve our future.

So how do we balance the two?

If we live completely for today we might find our future somewhat unforgiving and very unpleasant, yet if we live completely for the future we might find we sacrificed our best years for nothing more than a mirage. Either way you end up with a heap of regrets.

Let me remind you that what got us on this conversation in the first place was the scary fact that my masseuse “GP” had not taken a day off in over 180 days. But I never told you why…

When GP first told me about her grueling schedule I asked her when she made time for fun. Initially she tried to feed me some line about making time “here and there”. I would have challenged her on her answer but I could tell by her tone she honestly believed what she was telling me.

My experience coaching so many successful marketing gurus taught me not to challenge closely held beliefs head on. If you do all you meet up with is a lot of resistance, because one of the reasons these people are successful is they’re not easily swayed from their own positive self-affirming beliefs.

I used to come across this all the time when I was coaching. GP like many of my clients had already convinced herself that she actually did have fun. If I challenged her belief she would have gotten defensive and more committed to the belief.

Instead, I asked for the details (which by the way is always the best way to covertly challenge any belief). “Well, tell me, what do you like to do for fun?” I asked. “Lots of things” she replied. “Tell me some of them” I challenged. She thought for a minute or two, and then told me she “used” to have fun by going rollerblading, playing with her dogs, or going to the beach.

Sure, she had things that she “used to do” for fun – but when I pressed further by asking her to tell me some of the things she’s done recently for fun, within the past 4 months, she didn’t have any answers.

GP then admitted to me (and more importantly to herself) she really didn’t make time for fun. It’s sad yet I see it all the time. I got the feeling that GP was hiding. Life was passing her by so fast and she just kept her head down clinging to the certainty of work over the uncertainty of her achieving happiness.

And while this won’t be popular to write I’ll write it anyway because the more I live the more I am convinced of its truth.

And here it is…

Most People Consistently Choose Unhappiness Over Uncertainty.

I know you want to disagree with that statement, don’t you? I know I did. Because if you can prove it’s not true then you’ll never have to inspect your life under that standard.

Let it stew for a few minutes… "Most People Consistently Choose Unhappiness Over Uncertainty".

If you’re up for being real honest with yourself – couldn’t you identify areas of your life where you are currently making that choice. If you ever answered a dream with “Sure, I’d love to, BUT WHAT IF…” What follows next is usually an uncertainty that is dominating your life decisions.

But I don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves here. I’ve got a lot more to share with you about this, but let me tell you what I asked GP to do, because I want you to do the same. I asked GP to put together a list of 20 things she really enjoys before my appointment the next week.

What about you? Can you do it?

Sadly, many of you will not be able to come up with 20 fun things you enjoy. But if you can come up with even three it’s a start. No matter how many you come up with I want to invite you to post your answers here.

This way we can learn from each other’s lists. My hope is if there are enough people posting we can help the GPs of this world put together a great list for themselves. And like I said, it doesn’t matter how many you have now, just go ahead and share them here.

In my next post I’ll tell you what’s on my list, and how to use this list to dramatically boost your productivity and be a lot more successful a lot sooner.

But first, you’ve got to make the list… So have at it by commenting here.


Why Most People Die Without A Happy Ending


Last week I got a massage.

It was different than any massage I ever received (which is why I am telling you about it). It reminded me of a key distinction between my most successful clients and those that seem to continually struggle.

The masseuse (I’ll call her GP for short) discovered a big knot in my shoulder and asked me if I work in front of a computer. I said I did and I’d been spending a lot more time typing than I usually do.

(The reason for my recent marathon typing sessions is the new report I’m working on. I’m sure it will open people’s eyes just like the Internet Business Manifesto did last year. More on that later…)

The conversation with GP drifted to how many hours a week I work, what I do, and what I do on the weekends.

When she heard how much time I took out of my schedule for fun and time with my family, she was surprised at how I’m able to squeeze in everything.

Her response was not unusual at all. In fact, whenever I explain my schedule I’m always greeted with envy first, followed quickly by confusion, then wonder at how I’m able to live my life so well.

Being polite, I asked GP about her schedule. Her answer absolutely horrified me…

GP had been working seven days a week for the past 6 months with no days off and no vacations. At first I thought I had misheard her, but I hadn’t. Six massages a day, day in and day out, for over 180 days straight.

She making six figures – but she’s living her "life" based on a faulty assumption I see entrepreneurs making far too often.

Look, even though I’m only 36 years old, I’ve already retired twice. Yet, today I am typing this note to you from my office surrounded by 12 exceptional employees. What happened?… Why the hell am I still working?

The reason I work today is: the whole concept of ‘Retirement’ is fundamentally flawed.

The idea that you should sacrifice the best years of your life hoping to discover magical happiness in your later years doesn’t prove out at all. It’s just an old-fashioned theory you’ve been sold – and all you have to do is look around to prove to yourself how unrealistic it is.

In case you didn’t know… only a very small percentage of seniors can actually retire. Nowadays most are forced to work to supplement their income. And the trend is only getting worse. With the recent collapses of private pensions and the continual decrease in purchasing power of social security, many experts have come to the same conclusion…

“I don’t think were going to see another generation that’s going to fully retire. There’s going to be a lot of people that are going to continue to work for the rest of their lives.” Doug Lockwood, Retirement Specialist, Harbor Lights Financial Group.

But what’s even worse is this sort of “hoping it will be better later” dramatically decreases the likelihood you’ll ever achieve the success you desire.

Soon I’ll tell you why this is. But for now you need to think about the answers to these two questions as you go through your day:

What if you could never retire?

What if the way you choose to work today would set the pattern you must continue until the day you die? What would you be doing differently?

Let me know your answers to these two vital questions by posting your comments here:

And if you think you know why this reduces your chances of overall success, tell me why.

Then be on the look out for another message from me… because I’m going to tell you how to dramatically increase your chances of success AND at the same time enjoy your life a whole lot more than you do now.

Interested?… Stay Tuned….

To Higher Profits

Rich Schefren


Make Up Your Mind Already


Have you ever met an idiot that is more successful than you are?

We all have, right?

Frequently, when I am coaching, a client will say something along the lines of "I’m just as smart as (blank "guru"), so why am I working so much harder yet making so much less than them?

When they ask, I’m never quite sure… Do they really want the truth, or are they simply venting their frustrations? To play it safe, I usually say nothing and wait to hear what comes out next. After a silent pause, the client speaks…

The next few words out of their mouth tell me everything I need to know. If they are serious they’ll press me and ask again. If not they’ll simply move on to the next topic.

You see, I need to know if they are serious, because if they’re not… they aren’t ready to hear the cold, hard truth.

What about you? Do you want to know why people with half your smarts are making ten times more than you? If so, keep reading…

Today, the internet provides an overwhelming amount of information. Never before have so many people been so well informed… And yet, so utterly confused.

Lots of entrepreneurs go around thinking that "Access to information is what separates the winners from the losers" and, "The smartest person in the room should be the most successful". Not true. If it were, then whoever bought the most products, or read the most books would be richest, and we both know how outrageous that is.

That’s not to say that getting the right information isn’t important, but it’s only a tool.

When it comes to being successful in business, there are a few easily overlooked elements that are absolutely vital. They’re truly the deciding factors.

So, what are the crucial "winning" elements at the core of all successful entrepreneurs (even the "idiots")?

1.) Action Orientation. Taking action is the real difference between the super-successful and the wannabes. Wannabes simply absorb information and at their very best, react to it. And with such an overwhelming supply of information, most of them are simply numbed by it.

Contrast that with the successful entrepreneurs out there. When they get good information… they act on it – as soon as they possibly can. The main reason why so many don’t take action is because they are paralyzed by the prospect of failure. Add to that, their mistaken belief that the next information nugget they come across will be the difference between success and failure, and it becomes obvious why their "waiting" has them stuck.

If they press on, they only become more confused by conflicting facts. All the while, becoming increasingly frustrated that they still haven’t found the magic they’ve been seeking.

If you’ve ever been there, here’s my advice – Stay focused! Take a deep breath, and ask yourself, -What do I have to get done today?- Not tomorrow, or next week, or even next month. Today! And not what do I have to learn, but what do I have to DO to further my success?!?! It’s easy to lose your focus on today when you are thinking about tomorrow. And it’s just as tempting to believe that the next pearl of wisdom you come across is going to make all the difference. But it won’t. You’ll never reach the level of success you crave without taking specific DAILY steps that take you there.

It’s pretty straightforward. To build a successful business you have to train your brain to crystallize a future vision, break it into small details, and organize them into daily tasks. After that, all you need is the courage to commit to the completion of these daily tasks – despite all the obstacles that get in your way.

Sounds easy enough, right? So what will sabotage your success? Mainly fear! Fear is your enemy. The little voice whispering – what if it doesn’t work? What if I’m wrong? Look, some self-doubt is natural – but when it prevents you from achieving the success you deserve it’s a problem. Which leads to our next point:

2.) Rise Above Your Fears & Doubts. You have to get far enough above your doubts to keep working or you’re doomed. What works for me is to forget it all. And the easiest way to do that, is to get lost in a project. It works for me and it’ll work for you. Just throw yourself so deep into your work that your fears stay far enough away until you’ve finished all that’s needed to be done. Every successful business owner learns how to do this, sooner or later. What makes it easier is knowing…

Experience will always be your best teacher

When it comes to business you are going to make mistakes. We all do. Even the Intels, Microsofts, and Googles of the world mis-step from time to time. Building a successful company is complex, and there are always factors that lie beyond your control.

The trick is to learn from your mistakes. Just do your best to limit your risk, focus every day, keep trying, learn what works, and don’t torture yourself when you take a wrong turn. Just notice it, learn from it, and change your approach.

And since we are talking about mistakes… Do you know what’s at the root of most mistakes that you’ll make? I see it over and over again, playing out in so many online businesses. Yet, most people would never guess what it is, in a million years. Even though practically everyone who struggles in business is guilty of it.

For some strange reason, everyone wants to make things more complicated than they need to be. It’s as if everyone is fascinated by the overly complex, so instead of keeping things simple, they burden themselves with too much to do and too little time to do any of it right. Which leads to the next crucial element…

3.) Keep Things As Simple As You Can To Avoid The "Stupidity Tax". This a big one. It’s so easily avoidable but for some reason it’s one almost everyone online seems to walk right into.

Heres an example how this flawed approach plays out…

Instead of picking one way to drive traffic to your website, mastering it, and then moving on – most people do the opposite. They want to learn about launches, pay-per-click, search engine optimization, affiliate marketing, and every other method under the sun, all at the same time without developing any level of mastery in any of the tactics whatsoever.

Yet, the most successful online businesses I know do the opposite. Agora for example focused primarily on pay-per-click for their first 50 million in online sales. My company focused on jv/affiliate launches and in 9 months we’ve done over 7 million in sales.

When you pursue multiple directions in your business all at the same time you end up making very little progress. And it doesn’t matter if you are smarter and working harder than other successful people because you are spread way too thin.

On the internet, making this mistake can really kill your business, here’s why: In the online marketing world your results are directly related to how your skills stack up against your competitors. In Google adwords if your competition is better they’ll pay less for traffic and convert more of it than you will. In search engine optimization they’ll rank higher than you. In the affiliate world whoever converts better, sells more, and therefore can pay affiliates more, which locks other competitors out of the market.

It doesn’t work this way offline. You don’t pay more if your ad or commercial sucks. You might not get the number of responses but you’re not locked out, and you’re not forced into an inferior position, saddled with paying the "stupidity tax."

The Solution -> Isolate the fewest activities you can be successful with. Then knock them off one at a time. Don’t make the mistake of trying to do too much and marginalizing your results.

Remember: Confucius said "Man who chases two rabbits catches neither".

If you follow my advice you’ll get to take back quite a bit of time you’re currently wasting. You’ll be free from wasting time trying to learn too much about too many tactics at once. Plus you’ll get back the time youvre wasting trying to execute with a superficial level of knowledge. What you do with your newfound free time leads us to our fourth and final success-component, which is…

4.) Know Where The Money Is. It takes time to know your market, but it’s time you must invest if you’re serious about your business’s success.

The first step is quite simply to open your eyes and look at what’s going on around you. You need to keep your finger on the pulse of your market to know what’s "hot" in it. But that’s only 1/2 the equation. The second step is to do your best to understand WHY it’s hot. Until you understand your market on a deeper level you’ll keep scratching your head wondering why you are making less than your "dumb" counterparts.

The good news is that once you get it – When you really understand the psychology of your market; your results will improve immediately in all the marketing you do. From emails to pay-per-click your results will multiply because you’ll know your prospects better than any of your competitors.

So there you have it. If you’ve ever wondered why you make less than others even if you are smarter than they are, now you know. And it’s up to you. Are you going to make up your mind to keep plodding along somewhat frustrated with your progress or are you going to embrace the 4 points I shared with you here and decide once and for all that you are going to do what it takes to be successful.

Only time will tell…

To Higher Profits,
Rich Schefren

P.S. Please let me know how you’ll use these ideas in your business. You can do this by posting your thoughts right here.