The Myth Of “Taking Action”

It’s become a cliche…

“Just take massive action, brah!”

I hear it all the time from gurus on social media.

And they’re not wrong.

But what’s often overlooked is that there’s 2 types of “action.”

CONSUMPTION.

And…

PRODUCTION.

Consumption includes things like reading, watching, listening.

While production is stuff like planning, writing, editing, recording, publishing, designing, building, teaching, creating.

Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with consuming. It’s a necessary ingredient to success. And if you’re consuming good stuff — both mentally and physically — then it’s going to amplify the productive actions you’re taking.

But too often, I see folks lean in the wrong direction.

Their ratio is way off.

…Especially when their business is small and struggling to get off the ground.

And herein lies the problem:

Too many folks think that a lack of knowledge is what’s holding them back.

They don’t have all the answers yet. So they convince themselves that they gotta invest a lot of time to learn, learn, LEARN.

And as a result, they spend most of their time:

  • Reading books / articles / emails
  • Watching courses / webinars
  • Listening to podcasts / audiobooks
  • Overanalyzing business metrics

And while learning is important, what they’re not doing is putting what they just learned into practice by:

  • Planning the steps needed to achieve their goals
  • Developing content and copy
  • Creating SOPs & processes for repetitive tasks
  • Training employees and delegating projects
  • Outreach for JV partnerships or high-ticket sales

Now, as someone who publishes consumable content for a living, it’s not exactly in my best interest to expose this issue.

But if you want real results, you gotta produce more than you consume.

In fact, I’d say that at a minimum, you should spend 4 hours producing for every hour you spend consuming.

And when your business is in the early stages it’s even more important. If that’s the case, you should even consider making that ratio closer to 90/10.

Cause when I see folks struggling…

It’s almost never because they’re not consuming enough.

It’s cause they’re not producing enough.

Don’t let that happen to you.

Your pen pal,

Matt Rizvi

The Worst App For Marketers

I’ve recently identified the worst app for marketers.

Can you guess what it is?

I’ll give you 3 hints…

HINT #1: It’s used by roughly 25.8% of internet users.

HINT #2: You can download it on your computer, your phone, or simply as an extension in your web browser.

HINT #3: It’s recommended by the world’s staunchest data-privacy experts.

Got it yet?

Here’s the answer:

I’m talking about ad blockers!

But no, it’s not for the reason you’d expect…

Sure, these apps are causing countless websites to hemorrhage their precious ad revenue (that’s the obvious answer).

But the real reason ad blockers are the worst app for marketers, is that they’re also costing them a priceless education.

The fact is…

Instead of feasting on a constant stream of the best advertising on the Internet, the millions of marketers who personally use ad blockers are forfeiting the chance to hone their craft and add valuable assets to their swipe file, each and every day.

It’s insanity.

Especially when you consider the sage advice that my copy mentor, Mike Palmer, told me when I was a wee copy cub.

“You don’t need to read more books on copywriting,” he said. “You need to read more copy.”

It’s a lesson I took to heart.

And that’s why I firmly believe that ad blockers are the WORST app for marketers.

I’d even recommend that marketers cancel their premium subscriptions to Hulu, Youtube, and Pandora, just so they can experience MORE ads.

Heck, instead of blocking ads, you should even consider downloading apps that show you more of them.

For instance…

There’s a browser extension called “Turbo Ad Finder,” that when engaged, hides all the annoying cat pictures and political rants from your Facebook feed, and instead, only shows you the ads.

It’s a must for digital marketers.

Because it basically turns Facebook into The Museum of Modern Ads.

But unlike the real MoMA, admission is free, you can browse as long as you like, and it doesn’t get shut down because of a pesky virus.

TL;DR.

  1. Uninstall your ad blocker.
  2. Install Turbo Ad Finder.

That is all.

I’m stepping off my soapbox now.

Your pen pal,

Matt Rizvi

Big mistake made by online biz noobies

Whenever I see this mistake, I can’t help but cringe.

And unfortunately, it happens…

ALL. THE. TIME.

I can’t be too upset though. I’ve made the same mistake myself.

And as a result, it cost me months of wasted time, effort, and thousands upon thousands of dollars.

But if you’re reading this email, it might not be too late for you.

Particularly if you’re launching a new business and plan on selling courses, services, or coaching.

In other words…

You want to brand yourself as an expert and profit from your knowledge and/or skills.

Does that sound like you?

If so, then I believe it’s critical that you watch this video I recorded last year.

It’s less than 10 minutes.

And in it, you’ll get the full details behind the costly mistake I’m talking about and discover my solution for avoiding it.

Just click here to join the Strategic Profits Facebook group and check out my video.

Your pen pal,

Matt Rizvi

How To Conquer A “Funk”

I have to warn you:

A bad “funk” can be catastrophic to your productivity.

And if left unchecked, it can last for days… weeks… heck, even MONTHS.

Motivation disappears. Good habits get ignored. And poor decisions become easier to make, like binging Netflix, eating junk food, skipping workouts, etc.

You might not even want to get out of bed in the morning.

…Which is why on the surface, “funks” like these often look like depression, just minus the melancholy.

But there’s hope.

Because over my career I’ve gone through funks countless times. And while I’ve yet to master the art of avoiding them altogether, I’ve come up with a pretty effective protocol for reversing these unproductive trends and restoring my drive.

So if you’re currently stuck in a funk (just like I was recently), here’s what I recommend:

PHASE #1: Remove the bad shit

It’s important to note that conquering a funk requires two critical phases.

In the first phase, my goal is to simply eliminate the bad shit that’s perpetuating the funk.

For me, that means no drugs or alcohol. No junk food. No TV. No video games. No NSFW videos—at least, not during Zoom calls *wink*. And it even means cleaning my office and removing physical clutter that catches my wandering eye.

Because by ridding myself of these distractions, I strip my life of the “fat”—literally and figuratively—that weighs down my attention and takes time away from all the GOOD things I want to get done.

Now, it’s important to note that I don’t abstain from these habits forever or that EVERY bad habit has to go. But it’s important to identify the primary culprits impeding my progress right now. And then ruthlessly eliminate them.

Because just like good habits can create positive momentum, bad habits can have the opposite effect. They create inertia. And until they’re removed, it’s hard to get out of a funk.

PHASE #2: Restore the good shit

Personally, I find it easier to STOP doing something bad than to START doing something good.

Because when I try to do them both at the same time, my willpower falters and it takes me even longer to break out of the funk.

So only after I’ve removed the unessentials, is it time to add the good shit back in (i.e. the important habits I’ve ignored while stuck in my funk).

That means I (in order of personal importance):

  1. Eat Keto and intermittent fast
  2. Exercise at least 3 days a week
  3. Plan my day in advance
  4. Read books (especially personal development)
  5. Wake up and go to bed on a consistent schedule
  6. Meditate

Then, by the time I’ve eliminated the junk from my life and reintroduced these 6 habits, I feel 1,000% more motivated, happier, healthier, and energized.

So if you’re ever stuck in a super-sticky funk, do what I do.

Cut out all the bad shit. Restore the good. Then experience the difference.

Your pen pal,

Matt Rizvi

The Ultimate Opening

A white, middle-aged man speeds through the desert in a Winnebago while wearing nothing but his underwear and a gas mask.

Bullet holes cover the door and three men lay unconscious (or possibly dead) inside.

The driver’s mask fogs up, causing him to veer off the road and crash in a ditch.

Then he takes a camcorder from the RV and records a message to his wife and son, telling them that he loves them and assuring them that the crimes he committed were done with the best intentions.

Finally, he puts down the camera… walks to the road… pulls a gun from the waistband of his tighty whities… then points it in the direction of oncoming sirens.

[END SCENE, CUT TO INTRO]

That, my friends, is the opening to Breaking Bad, the Emmy award-winning TV show about a high-school chemistry teacher turned meth kingpin.

And I bring this up because I recently re-watched the entire series with my wife (it’s’ really that good).

But this second time watching it, I noticed something I didn’t spot before…

You see, the show follows a specific formula at the beginning of every episode — one that can not only be leveraged by filmmakers, but copywriters and marketers as well.

Here’s what happens…

Right away, Breaking Bad starts “in medias res,” which is latin for “in the midst of things.”

It doesn’t tell you how the characters got to where they are.

Or what unfolded to cause the situation.

Instead, the show always leads with a scene that’s filled with action… or drama… or mystery… or sometimes all three.

But then, right before the climax…

The scene ends and cuts to the intro.

In other words, Breaking Bad starts by grabbing the audience’s attention. And then, right when their interest is piqued, it leaves them with a cliffhanger.

In copywriting, we call these two elements “hooks” and “open loops.”

The hook is what captures your prospect’s eyeballs.

And the open loop is like the cliffhanger. It’s the unfulfilled promise (either directly stated or implied) that gives them an irresistible reason to keep reading.

Now let me show you an example…

Here are the first few lines of a promo that I recently added to my swipe file:

It’s sold in almost every supermarket… And found in over 100 different food products. In fact, it’s probably sitting in your fridge right now… And you may have served it to your family last night at dinner. This surgeon believes it’s the worst food a human can eat. It’s banned in Europe… But in America… It’s 100% legal.

That’s the hook.

And in my opinion, it’s pretty good. It grabbed me right by the gills because of the curiosity it provoked.

But remember, a hook alone isn’t enough.

Next, you gotta pair it with a good open loop, which usually comes near the end of the lead…

So why is this ingredient still legal in the United States… Even though the rest of the world considers it to be poisonous, hazardous and is linked to cancer? Well, in a moment, I’ll show you how it might have to do with a biotech corporation who makes $15 BILLION per year manufacturing this ingredient… And how they spend $5 million dollars per year lobbying the United States government to keep their products on the market.

See what they did there?

They open the loop by promising to inform you about this “dangerous” ingredient.

But they don’t share the full deets right away.

Instead, they build anticipation and force you to keep reading the copy to find out more.

And that’s what makes it so powerful.

So remember…

By combining a sharp hook with an irresistible open loop, you’ve got a proven formula for advertising (or Hollywood) success.

And the next time you’re waist deep in the first couple pages of a promo, think long and hard about how you execute this one-two punch.

Your pen pal,

Matt Rizvi

Give Thanks Without Giving Up

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!

In my house this past week, Turkeys (plural) were smoked and stuffed. Rivers of gravy flowed down mountains of potato casserole. And pumpkin pies were devoured.

It was epic.

And during the festivities, I found myself overwhelmed with gratitude.

It filled me with joy to celebrate this iconic American holiday by sharing four different feasts—on Saturday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (again)—with friends, family, and even a few strangers.

There was just one problem…

The experience was a painful reminder of the conflict most entrepreneurs face during times like these:

Gratitude vs Ambition

On the surface, these traits seem mutually exclusive.

Gratitude often leads to satisfaction, which can kill ambition.

But without gratitude, achievements rarely bring happiness.

So how do you stay thankful for everything you have—without losing your hunger to achieve more?

Well, after years of trial and error, I found that a simple perspective shift is all you need to balance these two forces.

Here’s how it works…

If I’m super distressed about the success of a marketing campaign or product launch, then I probably need to step back, take a couple hundred deep breaths, and practice more gratitude.

It’s time to remind myself that I love my job. I love my family. I’m financially secure.

And even in a worst-case-scenario where Rich gets hit by a bus (God forbid) and this business goes belly up, I know I have the skills and network to land on my feet.

In other words:

I’ve realized that being grateful doesn’t mean I’m “content.”

It doesn’t mean settling for the status quo.

Instead, gratitude assures me that the blessings in my life will always outweigh the hardships.

It eases my fear of failure.

But it’s not an excuse to slack off.

That’s the difference.

That’s how I give thanks without giving up.

And I recommend you do the same.

Your pen pal,

Matt Rizvi

Tips that DOUBLED my writing speed

Want to know how to write faster?

Maybe you’re pressed for time…

Or maybe you’re stuck on a blank page with a blinking cursor.

(Yup, we’ve all been there.)

Either way, putting words on a page FAST can free up valuable time in your day and is a critical skill for anyone who’s a “knowledge worker.”

And because Rich is currently in Phoenix and I’m recovering from a cold (i.e. congestion and a sore throat), we’ve canceled today’s live stream, and instead, I’d like to share a special training I recorded years ago when I first started creating education for writers.

Inside, you’ll discover 7 specific tips (not 5 like the image above says) that helped me DOUBLE my writing speed without learning to “type” faster.

Click here to watch it.

Your pen pal,

Matt Rizvi

Get clients FAST (3 tips)

Struggling to land clients?

…Or nervous to charge higher prices?

Either way, I got something that can help.

Because in 30 minutes, my business partner Matt Rizvi is taking over my livestream while I’m in Cabo this week. And on the broadcast, he’s revealing his 3 favorite ways to get clients quick — even if you have no experience.

I promise it’ll be good.

How To Enjoy Stress

When someone says, “I feel stressed.”

… It’s often meant as a bad thing.

But for a moment, imagine how much more you’d get done — and how easy it would be to overcome the challenges of work and everyday life — if you enjoyed stress.

Well friends, I have some good news…

Because I’m about to show you that “stress” might actually be the best thing for you. And when you understand the benefits of stress, I suspect you’ll start savoring it as much as I do.

But first, a short story…

As many of you know, I started running Strategic Profits at the beginning of last year.

And with it, came more responsibilities than I’ve ever managed before, like leading a team, executing multiple projects at once, driving forward both product marketing and fulfillment, business development, customer service, and anything else that needs to get done, but lacks a dedicated team member.

Plus, when I started the role, we were planning a big launch for Steal Our Winners, which in itself, had more moving pieces than any campaign I’ve ever been a part of.

Point being, I was faced with challenges unlike any I had overcome before.

And there were many late nights and long weekends at the office.

But whenever I would lay in bed at night and talk with my wife, I wouldn’t complain about all the fires I had to put out that day.

Instead, I’d tell her how much I LOVED doing it.

And the same is true today.

Now, many people in this situation would’ve been scared, or nervous, or anxious, or intimidated. And all of those words could’ve easily characterized the emotions I was feeling.

But instead of looking at my situation through a negative lense…

I viewed my stress as excitement.

“This is fun,” I’d tell myself.

And it’s a habit I’ve worked hard to develop whenever the butterflies in my stomach are flapping at top speed.

Because 95 times out of 100, those butterflies mean I’m doing something that’s pushing me to my outer limits and forcing me to grow as a person.

I’m getting better.

And even though this is a simple shift in perspective, it makes a profound difference.

But here’s the cool part…

I’m not some freak of nature who doesn’t get stressed.

On the contrary, it’s taken my whole life to get to this point (and I still have room to improve).

But one thing that’s helped me get here is by researching the best ways to deal with my emotions, which nowadays, isn’t too hard considering the Internet and the litany of academic literature on the subject.

For instance, most people don’t realize that psychologists have identified two types of stress:

Distress: This is the common form of stress that causes dissatisfaction and depression.

Eustress: This is positive stress that causes enjoyment, focus, and personal growth.
But here’s the crazy part…

Scientists found that the type of event doesn’t impact whether it causes distress or eustress. It’s the way we perceive these events that determine if we grow or suffer because of them.

For one person, a terminal cancer diagnosis might give them a newfound appreciation for life and force them to reconnect with an estranged family member.

But for another, it could send them down a spiraling depression full of anger and resentment.

The difference?

Perception.

As Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (don’t ask me how to pronounce it), wrote in his iconic book, Flow:

“How we feel about ourselves, the joy we get from living, ultimately depend directly on how the mind filters and interprets everyday experiences.”

In other words:

“The control of consciousness determines the quality of life,” writes Csikszentmihalyi.

That means that your job… or your spouse… or your President… aren’t responsible for your distress.

YOU ARE!

Personally, when I first uncovered this idea, it was a breakthrough for me. And since then, through study and practice, I’ve learned how to control the way I perceive stress.

And it’s been a game-changer.

Because now I find high-stakes, high-intensity work to be some of the most enjoyable, fulfilling, and satisfying experiences of my life.

And I suspect that by making a simple tweak to your own narrative about stress, the same could happen for you too.

You pen pal,

Matt Rizvi

Speaking Is Ruining My Writing

This is going to sound strange…

But it’s becoming harder and harder for me to be a productive writer.

Getting into flow is more challenging.

My mental bandwidth is stretched like taffy.

And I’m finding it nearly impossible to carve out time to sit in silence and execute my most celebrated skill.

The reason?

I just TALK so damn much these days.

As our team grows, my time is increasingly spent in meetings.

And that’s not a bad thing.

Meetings are where I delegate tasks, make decisions, clear bottlenecks, plan our operations, and provide feedback.

They’re muy importante.

And they allow me to leverage my time effectively.

But meetings also involve a lot of speaking on my part and require a similar amount of mental focus, creativity, and energy — especially as an introvert by nature.

In fact, nearly 6 hours of my day today was dedicated to meetings alone.

And that’s why I’d go as far as to say that speaking is ruining my writing practice.

The solution?

I need to scale my writing ability.

Which means:

Outsourcing more to members of my team…
Training up staff to my level of expertise. And…
Spending more time reviewing and editing copy instead of writing it from scratch.
Point being:

If you too are managing the day-to-day operations of your business — while also creating assets that require hours of deep work — then at some point, something’s gotta give.

What roles you move off your plate is your choice.

But you better choose wisely.

Your pen pal,

Matt Rizvi