Episode 083: How Hard Are You REALLY Working?

The name says it all – ask yourself, and be honest with the response: “How hard am I really working?”.

All business models (including Merch By Amazon FYI) are hard, and require a lot of work. Some are harder than others, and require more work. Often times the ones that take the most work, and most energy, are the ones that pay off the most in the long run (fulfillment, financially, etc).

Take inventory of just how much effort you’re putting in, and get clear on how hard you’re actually trying, as well as how hard you really WANT to work now and in the future.

Gordon

Episode 082: Find Clarity Through Testing

You read books, listen to podcasts, watch youtube videos, and attend conferences with exposure to tons of entrepreneurs, inventors, content creators, etc. They all seem to be killing it. More importantly, they all seem to have it FIGURED OUT. You want to have it all “figured out” too.

You lose sleep, tossing and turning about what you should be doing. You know you’re capable of achieving or building something, but you don’t know exactly what that is. It’s that exact reason that you haven’t taken action – because you don’t know what to take action on.

How do you figure that out?

In this episode, we get into how someone can take something simple like their career, or something they went to college for, or something they’re highly experienced with, and turn that into a business. The example lies in the realm of electrical engineering. Not interested in engineering? That’s perfectly fine – the example is still relevant and parallels ANYTHING else you can possibly think of.

Have a listen and learn how YOU can take a simple topic that you’re passionate about, and dissect it to go DEEP in order to reveal the niche power within it. Remember…”the riches are in the niches” 😉

Cheers

Gordon

Episode 081: Are You Ready for Q4?

Quarter 4 is a weird time of year for business owner/entrepreneurs. Especially us online sellers. The sales pick up dramatically almost overnight, and yet the overwhelming concern of stock issues and cash flow issues is constantly nagging.

Q4 is certainly an awesome time of the year for generating revenue, and it’s hard to remain focused on the next phase, which is really Q1 of the following year. That’s exactly what we need to be capable of doing though, is looking forward 3-4 months and always being one step ahead. In this episode, I dive into some of the issues that people run into when they encounter their first Q4 while running an online brand or selling a product for the first time. To some of you this is old news, to other it could very well be an education 🙂

In this episode, I also get into Merch a bit. There are certain strategies for Merch that people don’t realize. Part of this is seasonal designs and part of it is, again, preparing for Q1 of next year.

In general, Q4 is a great time of the year to start to plan out what’s going to be coming next for you. I personally don’t set resolutions anymore for the new year. I have continuous waves of small goals that all sort of feed into bigger picture goals. To do this, I use a dream board. From that dream board, my actions inherently map to the things that will lead me directly to the items on that dream board.

Check out the episode, and kick some ass in Q4 this year.

Cheers

Gordon

Episode 080: Are you too good for social media?

The title of this episode says it all, in the form of a question…are you too good for social media?

Do you know anyone in your life that likes to always remind everyone in the room that they don’t use “snap face” or “insta book” or whatever clever name that they think is witty and funny at the time? Do they wear the fact that they don’t use social media like a badge of honor? Do they like to make it seem like they’re superior because they haven’t “given in” or “drank the kool aid” that is social media?

Everyone has someone like this in their life…family, friends, colleagues, work buddies, clients, whatever. The fact of the matter is, they are perfectly happy without social media, and that is fine. They probably aren’t trying to build a business, or gather awareness for anything in particular (a band, a charity, an organization, their book, etc). They probably go to their job (or not), then go home and do little to nothing for the rest of the day before going to bed, then they rinse and repeat the next day. All of this is perfectly fine. Except it’s not.

As entrepreneurs, we are trying to build something. When trying to build something, we like to promote it, talk about it, engage with our audience (no matter how big or small it is), meet other entrepreneurs, etc. All of this requires a platform for communicating. That platform…is social media.

Are you utilizing social media properly? Are you utilizing it at all? You have more reach, more opportunity, and more capability using social media than any other method in terms of reaching and grabbing hold of your audience. Video, pictures, written stories, combinations of all 3, they are all available to you and they are free. You are probably subscribed to at least one of the major social media applications, but you may not be using the right one. You also may already be using the right one, but not using it right. The thing that I believe most people miss about social media platforms is that they are constantly evolving, and what might have worked or not worked 6 months ago may perform the opposite today.

This is a pretty saturated topic but I meet too many people on a regular basis that like to talk about how they don’t participate in social media for a myriad of reasons, and then complain at the same time for not making progress in whatever they are trying to do. Want a following? Want people to buy your stuff, listen to your music, read your books, look at your art, etc? Use social media.

Gordon

Episode 079: Lessons Learned from an Unsuccessful Kickstarter

Recently I launched a Kickstarter campaign for a premium gym-style duffel bag as part of a bigger brand that I am building called SOBAM Gear Company. This campaign was not successful at reaching it’s funding goal on Kickstarter. Was I happy that the campaign did not get funded? No…and yes. There were a number of lessons learned as a result of going through this exercise, and I am so thankful that I did it.

The main takeaway – Kickstarter is a just like any other launch, and the more experience you have, the better it will be. I am excited to re-launch this campaign next month in November, 2017. In the meantime, check out this episode for some of the things that we will change about the approach going forward, as well as the major lessons learned as a result of launching and failing to succeed with this recent campaign.

Episode 078: Interview with Jonathan Nadeau

Today’s guest is someone that has done more in his life than I have, with less tools in his arsenal. Not just any tools – his eyesight.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to lose your eyesight after years of having fully functional sight? The stark contrast from seeing the worlds vivid colors to, in a moments time, all the sudden being completely blind can sound terrifying. So how did Jonathan react to this? With positivity.

Jonathan says very openly and clearly in this interview that losing his eyesight was the best thing that ever happened to him.

Why would he say this? Because he believes it.

Since losing his eyesight as a teenager, Jonathan has gone on to open his own storefront and sell/build/repair computers, earn two college degrees (computer science AND business), created an entire operating system for disabled people, runs an SEO/Marketing company, runs 3 podcasts, and even builds websites. These are things that people WITH eyesight “can’t” do. Think you have an excuse now?

Jonathan describes what it takes to accomplish the things in life that you are truly passionate about, and his main takeaway is so profound, yet so simple – believe in yourself and take action.

If you truly believe it, trust in the process and do the steps that map to your goals. If you do that, you will achieve them.

Connect with Jonathan:

Nadeau Media

 

Episode 077: More Amazon Merch Tactics + Q4 Opportunities

If you’ve listened to the show for a while, you know that I sell on Amazon.com. Included in that is the time I’ve put into building a pretty continuous funding stream using Merch by Amazon, which is Amazon’s print on demand (POD) T-Shirt service. This service has allowed me to generate over $1000/month with about 2 hours of work per week. I’m not super creative with graphics, I’m not the wittiest person in the world with slogans and phrases, but I understand data and I’m creative enough to see patterns.

If Merch by Amazon has ever interested you, then this episode is for you. I break down some pretty straightforward ways of thinking about Merch, what it’s capabilities are, and how to get started with the creative side.

Above all else, I highly recommend people go check out a service called Merch Informer. It is free to try for 3-days, and then has a monthly fee of $19.99 – which is about the equivalent of 2 to 4 sales a month. Personally, that service has brought me many thousands of dollars, so it has been well worth the investment.

What is Merch Informer and why is it important? It’s the only tool that allows you really get up-to-date, real time data and analytics on what’s selling, what’s not, and everything in between. The thing I use it for the most is to search by BSR. By seeing what’s moving at a BSR of 100,000 (appx 1 per day), I can quickly generate ideas for a lot of new designs. With those ideas, I can create and sell those new designs and (almost) guarantee a 1 sale/day type of traffic. This isn’t an exact science, but it’s close.

Beyond Merch Informer, it is very possible for you to create your own ideas, and won’t cost you a thing. Here’s my recommended way of doing this (I still do this sometimes…)

  1. Create a list of topics around BIG things: seasons, sports, holidays, major events, extremely popular hobbies, pets, etc.
  2. Break of those down into subcategories (sports -> spring sports -> baseball -> pro / adult / youth -> male / female / coed). There, you just created 7 niches out of the word “baseball”. Do this to as many topics as possible.
  3. Search on Amazon for shirts in ALL of these niches – investigate what is selling already and what isn’t.
  4. Create new designs around the shirts that are selling.

This is all faster if you use a tool, but can absolutely be done by hand manually, which is how I started.

In general, your best bet is be CREATIVE IN CONCEPT. You don’t have to be super creative in terms of specific Photoshop or Illustrator execution, but you do need to be somewhat creative in the concept. Just keep designing concepts, and know that each that turns out poorly is a lesson learned. The more you do it, the more you fail, and ultimately, the better you get at it.

Click here to check out Merch Informer (I make no commission off this, I just believe in the product)

Gordon

Episode 076: Positivity Exists Everywhere

When I was 11 I moved from Ohio to Massachusetts. After moving, my (already low) confidence and introverted personality grew at scale. I become even less confident in myself, continued to not develop self-esteem, and became more introverted. One of the reasons? I had serious body image issues. I was overweight. As a result, I was slow, bad at sports, and in general, didn’t fit in. Like so many others, I found solace in food, being alone, and taking no risks at all. Concerns about body image turned into depression, which took a toll on me for years.

When I was 26, on August 27, 2011, my son, Hunter, was born. Following his birth, my wife fell deeply into a combination of worst case postpartum depression, anxiety, and panic disorder. This forced me to be a single dad with my first child. In general, I changed all the diapers, fed him every bottle, read him every book, sang him to sleep, and did every other “first” with him for those first few months of his life. My wife wanted nothing to do with him.

Besides the obvious, what do these two situations have in common? They were both horrible and quite honestly, I don’t want anyone to have to undergo either one of them. What they have in common is opportunity for something great to come as a result.

I know you’re probably wondering how something great could come from someone being horribly depressed. Both of these situations presented positive experiences, and I unknowingly captured them.

Out of myself being depressed as a result of body image issues, I became introverted. As a result of being introverted, I found myself gravitating to a girl who was also pretty quiet and, in her own way, introverted. As a result of those things happening, we ended up really hitting it off and she is now my wife and mother of my son. We have been together for 16 years.

Out of my wife experiencing postpartum depression, anxiety and panic issues I learned what it takes to really be a man. Do I consider myself the manliest guy in the world? Certainly not. I do know this though – prior to this situation, I never knew what it meant to have to step up and completely ignore my wants and needs in order to take care of someone else. Once I experienced this, I realized what it takes to put someone else completely before you and literally focus 100% on them instead of yourself. If I never experienced this, I never would have developed this perspective and understanding.

These two experiences, which were horrible, also helped me understand what I really want to do. My mission has shifted to helping develop treatments and approaches to helping research mental health issues, specifically among kids. This is an area that is a passion of mine, and is very close to home. I want to help, I believe I can help, and now I understand that I need to help. I feel that it is my responsibility now to pursue this and take it as far as I can go, and I know I never would have felt this calling if I didn’t undergo those experiences previously in my life.

Positivity exists everywhere. It may be impossible to see sometimes, but it is always present.

Episode 075: SSDD and All That Nonsense

It’s Monday. You wake up, you go through your morning routine, which concludes with you driving (or commuting) to work. You get out, dreading the fact that you have to endure another day with people you can’t stand while doing a job you get no fulfillment from. About 10 seconds after you walk through the door, someone looks over and says “hey, how was your weekend?”. Your response…”eh…same shit different day”.

Is this you? Or better yet, is this the response that you get from others when YOU ask them how their weekend was?

This is a true sign of someone that is getting no satisfaction or fulfillment from what they’re doing on a daily basis. This type of response is akin to anything that would be comparable to seeing the glass “half empty”. I know that you know people who talk like this on a routine basis. Maybe it’s you. Maybe it’s your Father. Maybe it’s your best friend. Ask yourself: do you see any value in these types of responses when people say “hello, how’s it going?” on a Monday morning:

1) Eh…same shit, different day (or “SSDD” for short, and yes, I’ve heard people say that out loud)
2) Another day in paradise…
3) Is it Friday yet?
4) Living the dream…

There is ZERO value in that. Talking like that, people may as well be saying “my life sucks, and I want yours to suck too so I’m going to pour all my negativity out at you”.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand when people try to reel me in to their miserable life by saying stuff like that. I’ve developed the ability to steer clear of it and deflect it. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t encounter it AND become affected by it from time to time. I’d be lying if I said I was immune to it. We are all affected by our surroundings, now matter how strong our defenses are. That is an artifact of being human.

We don’t have the ability to change what happens to us (in general), because we can’t control the universe. What we can control is our attitude, our mindset, our perspective and our outward energy and emotion. Do you know what happens when you outwardly express positivity, even on those days when you’re really not having it and don’t feel like being positive? You influence your surroundings. You make someone else’s day better. You release negativity in a way that lessens your own tension. You begin to force your day to get better. It isn’t easy, and it does take practice. That being said, it is real.

This podcast airs on Tuesday, September 26, 2017. If someone asks you how your day is going and all you can think about is the upcoming weekend…take an extra second before you respond with something that is going to bring zero value to that interaction.

Gordon

Episode 074: Interview with Matisyahu Goren

Who do you surround yourself with? Are they beneficial to your mission by being around you or not? This is one of the things I believe has the biggest impact on why people succeed or don’t. We are creatures of adaptation, including who is around us.

I have been in and out of masterminds for some time now. Included in these are both paid and unpaid masterminds. Within one of those unpaid masterminds is where I’ve received the most value AND met some incredible people – one of which is today’s guest: Matisyahu Goren.

Matisyahu is an entrepreneur, father, husband, high level basketball skills coach (D1 + NBA), podcaster, is heavily involved in the Jewish community, and all around great dude. He runs a brand/cultural community called The Long Short Way, primarily targeting the Jewish community.

Matisyahu definitely has a lot to say, but it is all very valuable. One of the biggest things he recommends in this podcast for people trying to figure themselves out and find their way is simply reading more books, of which he recommends several. One that we share in common is Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson.

Connect with Matisyahu:

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