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I Know What You Are Scared Of

Failure is an over-rated reason why people don’t want to try new things.

No one is really scared of failure.

What people really are scared of is what other people will think of them when they fail.

Till the time this fear of other people’s opinions lives in you, you will –

  • Not be able to do things that feel authentic and right to your nature.
  • Not be able to start a business based around your passion.
  • Not be able to speak confidently in public.
  • Not be able to quit a job you hate even though you may know deep down that you don’t need it.
  • Not be able to dress the way you want to dress.
  • Not be able to express the real you.

And the list can go on.

There is no way out of this fear but to simply go through the discomfort that it initially brings.

But once you do something you were not doing because you were scared what other people might think or say, you get off the mark.

That builds confidence for something more bold.

And then the cycle goes on.

In fact when I wrote this post, there was that little voice inside me reminding me of what other people will think or say.

But I’m still publishing it and you’re still reading it.

No one is completely devoid of this fear.

It’s just that some people practice ignoring other people’s opinions so much that that voice starts to lose its power.

So make sure you do something to shut that voice as often as you can.

The more you do it, the closer you will start to come to your authentic self.

The more authentic you become, the more fun your daily activities will become, which in turn will make you happier.

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A Great Life Lesson We Can Learn From Oprah Winfrey

One of the recent quotes that I read and really liked was by the popular television personality Oprah Winfrey, which went something like this:

Don’t waste your time in the race looking back to see what the other guy is doing. It’s not about the other guy. It’s about what can you do. You just need to run that race as hard as you can. You need to give it everything you’ve got, all the time, for yourself.

It’s a reminder that we only to need to focus on ourselves.

A lot of times, we start to put unnecessary pressure on ourselves because we compare our own lives with someone else’s.

It’s not wise to do that because:

  • The other person has been brought up in different circumstances
  • Has a different nature
  • Has different strengths and weaknesses
  • Has different desires

Everything about the other person is different than you.

Then why should you compare?

Remembering that we are in our own race is a very comforting thought.

It takes away the negative pressure that we may feel sometimes.

Do you know why race horses wear blinders at the side of their eyes?

It’s because they have peripheral vision and can run off the course unless their vision is focused.

We all need to be exactly like those horses with blinders.

Only focused on our own course.

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The Biggest Secret to Running a Successful Online Business

The biggest secret to running a successful online business is to acquire your customers at a profit.

What does this mean?

It means that the money you use to grow your business doesn’t have to be your money.

It has to be your customer’s money.

Unless you have super deep pockets (think Amazon), this is the only real way to grow an online business.

Let’s take an example.

Let’s say you are running an e-commerce website that sells health supplements.

You run an advertising campaign (using Google Adwords/Facebook ads) to attract traffic and customers to your website.

Let’s say you spend Rs.X on your advertising campaign.

And let’s say you earn Y from immediate sales.

It’s a no-brainer that Y-X has to be a +ve figure for you to sustain your business.

If it is, then great for you.

But for a lot of people, that won’t be the case. That’s the reason most businesses shut down.

So what can you do if you are making a loss?

CHANGE YOUR STRATEGY.

What’s this new strategy?

The strategy is that when you advertise your products/services, don’t create an ad that sells your products at the original price.

Run an ad that is giving a mega discount.

Why? Because of the following reasons:

  1. People love discounts so they are more likely to click on your ads. The more they click, the higher the CTR (click through ratio) of your ad. The more the CTR, the lesser the CPC (cost per click). If all this is sounding like Chinese, then to simply put, the more “seductive” you can make your ad, the lesser you will have to pay. So Rs.X goes down.
  2. People who click through the ad and come on your website are more likely to buy that product because it’s at a discount. Who doesn’t love a discount?

But more conversions doesn’t necessarily mean a higher Rs.Y since you are selling at a discount. But this is where you have to think long term. Right now, your only aim should be to let (Y-X) > Zero , i,e, even if you break even, that’s fine. Even if you do incur a loss but it’s not that huge, that’s also fine. And any profit is a bonus.

Why?

Because your real sales are not these first ones.

This initial advertising campaign is not to be run for sales. It has to be run for two very important reasons:

  1. To build your customer list (since visitors will be giving you their e-mail address, which you will ask in exchange for the discount coupon code.)
  2. To be able to run a retargeting advertising campaign later on . A retargeting campaign allows you to show ads to people who visited your website by using the pixel tracking mechanism. For example, if I’m running a Facebook ad, I can install a pixel code given by Facebook on my website, which tracks the visitors and allows me to create ads that can specifically be shown only to people who visited my website. In fact you have seen this type of retargeting everywhere. Haven’t you seen that when you check out a certain product on Amazon, you start seeing Amazon’s ad for that same product everywhere. That’s retargeting or remarketing for you.

Through sending follow-up e-mails to your list and using retargeting, you start to get into your customer’s minds.

That’s the time they start knowing you and trusting you.

And that’s when the repeat sales happen.

And that’s when you make real profit.

The initial profit that you have earned was only to acquire the ability to reach your customers anytime you want.

And even after you make profit, a significant chunk of it has to go back into the starting advertising campaign?

Why? Because that’s what is building your LIST, the lifeline of your business.

So don’t rush and apply for a home or car loan and spend all your profit.

Invest some percentage of it back. Re-investing your profits back to the first step is what makes sure that this cycle keeps going.

This same model can be applied to any business.

The execution and strategies will differ but the concept will remain the same.

Once you do things this way, you will, after practice, start to make every step efficient and then turn this process into a never-ending cycle.

Finding this process is the engine for your business.

Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s not.

But it’s the only thing that separates a business that lasts from the one that does not.

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Why You Should Give Up Reading or Watching News

You should stop watching or reading news because n.e.w.s stands for – Negative Echoes of Worldwide S**t.

When was the last time you read or heard news with headlines like below:

  • School students help blind man cross a road and everyone around appreciated and was happy.
  • A Hindu and Muslim family sat together to have a meal and had a great time.
  • The flight scheduled to land in Delhi did end up landing in Delhi.

Chances are that you haven’t or even if you have, it’s rarely the case.

The problem is that such news does not provide an escape to miserable people.

In fact when miserable people see other people suffering, they feel consoled.

People who produce news recognise this fact and exploit it to the max.

That’s why they scavenge around for all the miserable things happening in the world, find the most miserable amongst all the miserable things and then print it as news.

Such news is capable of providing a great escape.

It’s basically just like any other entertainment.

Have you ever asked yourself – How much of the news you read actually impacts your own personal life?

You’ll find that almost none of it does.

But at this point you can raise a fair point – What about the news that is really important and that does affect my life?

The answer to that is that you don’t need to read or watch news to come to know about it.

Take the recent demonetisation issue as an example.

You really think you wouldn’t have come to know about it if you did not read or watch news?

Your friends would talk about it.

You would see it on Facebook.

You would overhear it somewhere.

You would definitely come to know about it.

The only way you could not have come to know about it would have been if you were living in a far-away cave in the Himalayas.

Actually, even then you would come to know about it because let’s say, to get food or other necessities, you would be required to travel occasionally to some shop. There, the shopkeeper would refuse to take your old notes.

Basically, if the news is REALLY important, you WILL come to know about it.

This is the only news you should really be bothered about.

And the best part about such news is that it comes to you, you don’t have to go to it.

Not reading or watching news is the best way to filter out all the garbage that goes around as news and restrict yourself only to the essential pieces of information that do have an impact on your life.

When you do that, you save energy.

Energy that was going for waste.

And this energy and time can be dedicated to learning new languages, learning an art, starting a business, getting a better job, spending more time with family, improving your relationships, etc.

The right use of this energy will make YOU the source of your own entertainment instead of relying on external sources.

Most people rather read or watch news (or television in general) because the entertainment is easier to get.

It requires no effort.

You just have to read or watch. You are not actively involved.

Our energy can either move up or down.

Moving down is easy because it requires no effort.

Entertainment from news is passive and hence does not require creative effort on the part of the reader.

To make your energy move up is tougher.

Because it has to be an active effort.

You have to be involved in it.

You have to take your life to a new level for that to happen.

That’s why most people prefer the passive approach.

Don’t be that person.

Because you’ll only love your life when you start doing things that entertain yourself. That’s the best kind of entertainment.

Once you do that, you’ll never go back to the passive way.

Do leave your comments below on this subject.

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Focus On and Get Good at ONE Traffic Generation Method

Today’s lesson is a short one.

I see many marketers and entrepreneurs spread themselves thin by being on a lot of social media platforms and trying every trick in the corner to generate traffic.

You should avoid that since it can lead to burnout pretty soon.

What you have to do is to go deep into one method and become an expert in that.

For instance, for me, it’s Facebook marketing.

The first time I tried Facebook marketing, I loved it and never looked back.

The method you choose has to be enjoyable to you.

Before Facebook marketing,  I had enjoyed some success with SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

But I did not enjoy it because of the following reasons:

  • It takes a lot of time
  • It’s very technical and boring
  • Google algorithm can change anytime and render all my efforts waste

But I know a lot of people who simply love SEO.

So it’s a personal decision that you’ve got to make.

But don’t go around trying every trick in the corner.

When you become an expert in one tactic, you start to see results because you are doing things better than 90% of the other people trying their hands at that method.

Also, your expertise will not just be rewarded in traffic, but also low costs because you would know how to achieve a higher efficiency in using that method.

If you were to ask me honestly, I would only recommend one strategy and that’s Facebook marketing.

It’s lot of fun and there has never been any platform (except for Google Adwords maybe) that can reach out to laser targeted customers in a super efficient and cost effective manner.

But I see a lot of people do Facebook marketing and advertising the wrong way.

They are quick to use those shiny blue “BOOST POST” buttons that Facebook offers.

They do so without any thought and any strategy.

And the result is a financial disaster.

And because of such experiences, they start thinking this whole online marketing thing doesn’t work.

That’s why it’s essential that you learn as much as you can and then apply.

One great resource to learn Facebook advertising (or anything else) is Udemy. Udemy is a platform where people put up their courses. Many courses there are free too.

Once you master one tactic, you’ll see that other things start to work for you too.

For instance, because Facebook generates so much traffic for my photography business, it helps me in my SEO too since people share the content on my website.

As of now, my website, www.creativepadphotography.com beats some of the bigger photography organisations and ranks first on Google for keywords related to photography workshops in Pune, though I hardly did any SEO.

Don’t try any voodoo SEO tricks to rank. Let things happen on their own.

But the key to remember is to master one tactic.

Like they say, go an inch wide and a mile deep.

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One of the Easiest and Free Techniques to Learn Online Marketing

A short but important lesson for you today.

One of the easiest way to learn marketing, especially online marketing, is to simply watch what other successful people are doing.

How do you do this?

Simply visit their website and look out for the way they try to get your e-mail address.

This could be an offer in exchange for which you have to give your email address, like:

  • A free e-book or course
  • Discount offer
  • Newsletter subscriptions
  • Free event tickets
  • Registration criteria to become a member

Offers like these are referred to as a lead magnet in the marketing world.

Because their job is to simply acquire the e-mail address of the visitor.

If you’ve been reading my free course Learn How to Start an Online Business in 5 Days , you would have seen why capturing e-mail addresses is one of the most important things you can do, something which amateur marketers don’t do.

Having an e-mail list lets you reach out to your customers anytime you want.

For instance, you are required to part with your e-mail address when you buy something from Amazon.

Now they can get in touch with you when another product in the same category comes up.

Also, let’s say you did not purchase the product.

Now, they can remind you about it so you can complete the purchase.

Basically, because of them having your e-mail id, they have a free and lifetime route to you anytime they want, unless you unsubscribe.

Apps these days serve a similar function.

That’s why everyone wants you to download their apps as quickly as possible.

Just like an e-mail, notifications from apps keep the brand in your mind.

So coming back to our technique.

Whenever you see such a lead magnet, deliberately give your e-mail id to see how the marketer tries to “seduce” you into buying their product or service through a series of e-mails.

I’ll give you an example.

I’m into conducting different types of workshops, so I’m always interested in learning how to improve the whole process of selling a workshop, right from acquiring someone’s e-mail to finally making sure they attend the event.

So to start the process, I can first figure out who the top workshop trainers are in my field.

Arfeen Khan happens to be one of them.

So I take the following steps:

  1. Search for Arfeen Khan on Google to find his website.
  2. On his website homepage, the first thing I see is his lead magnet, which is an offer to download the first chapter of one of his books, as you can see below:
  1. I enter my e-mail and wait for the time when his next event comes up.
  2. Till then I will notice how he warms me up to his services through various e-mails that he sends.
  3. Once the inevitable event e-mail pops up, I register for his event to see the exact registration flow.
  4. Then, if I want to take things to the next level, I can actually go to the event, especially if it’s a free one to see how he finally converts the registrants into buying customers.

So I can get an overview of a successful marketing strategy for free and with so much ease.

I hope this article helped you. Do leave your feedback below!

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The Biggest Mistake You Can Make When You Start an Online Business

Usually when you read such articles, you read about various mistakes related to marketing principles or some technicalities related to operations of business.

I’m going to tell you something different.

The mistake I’m talking about comes way before any of the mistakes that are usually talked about.

The mistake I’m going to talk about is the root of all the mistakes that appear later on on the surface.

And that mistake is not asking yourself one very important question, which is:

CAN I DO THIS FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE?

This is not just applicable to a business. It’s applicable to any kind of project, be it a job or any other kind of work.

If the answer to this question is Yes, then you know you’ve won half the battle because your project/business/idea is coming straight from the heart.

You’ll know you are in the game for the long run.

I see a lot of people, especially in the online marketing world, try their hands at all kinds of short-cuts.

Unsurprisingly, they don’t last long.

In fact I was one of them.

Let me give you a few examples of my own mistakes when I started out.

Here are three of the many online projects I tried:

  • Love Master India – A website where I was to be a dating guru and give advice to men on dating, grooming, romance, relationships, etc. My earning model was relying on the hope that the people who will come to my website would sign up for a dating website that I was affiliated with, thereby earning income as commission from that website. This website made me Rs.Zero with a capital Z.

 

  • Soccer Quick – A website where I wrote tutorials on how to play soccer and earned income by referring a video tutorial product that was I was affiliated with. I ended up selling this website for $1000 on Flippa.com.

 

  • Bowflex Blaze Review – A one –page website where I wrote about a home gym called Bowflex Blaze and then placed an affiliate link to buy it from Amazon. For a long time, this website was ranking on top of Google because of the SEO tricks I used and was making me pocket money every month. In June, 2016 my hosting provider emailed me saying that Bowflex wanted me to take the website down on the grounds of copyright violation. It’s funny because I was actually selling their product. Maybe they were scared that I would keep outranking them on Google and that it would hurt their brand.

Now why did none of these work?

Because they were all half-hearted short-cut projects.

Was I really passionate about dating? No.

Was I really passionate about soccer? Yes, but only while playing or watching it, not starting a business around it. In fact, during my MBA days, I even did a marketing internship with a Soccer club, where I lasted exactly one day.

Was I really passionate about selling home-gyms? Hell no.

Then why did I start all these projects and many others that I have not even mentioned?

Because of only one thing – to somehow make money quickly without doing much work so I can quickly retire and live the rest of my life sipping on martinis on a beach in Thailand.

The plan didn’t work out quite well.

The biggest problem with all these projects was that the answer to the aforementioned question was a resounding No.

I was NOT willing to do them for the rest of my life.

I see the same mistakes being made by a lot of other people. For instance, when I conduct any sort of digital marketing workshops, a lot of people come to me after the workshop and ask me questions like – How can I use Facebook ads to promote CPA offers or some other type of others? My friend does that and makes a crazy amount of money every day. Please tell me how to do it.

I usually don’t give an answer because of two reasons:

  • I don’t know how to do it myself
  • I know that such ideas are destined to fail

Why?

Because of simple supply and demand equation.

If a business model is as easy as jumping on to Facebook and running ads to make money, you can rest assured that a lot of people will figure it out and jump on the bandwagon.

And when they do, lot of things will go wrong, including:

  • Facebook ad costs will go up.
  • CPA offers will have higher barriers to entry (application process will become strict).
  • Affiliate commission from these offers will be reduced.

Basically, you’ll make some quick money and then everything will go south.

The trouble is that you can apply all the great marketing tactics in the world and they all still won’t be able to beat the biggest and the most proven marketing tactic – CONSISTENCY.

Consistent effort is what makes a business successful.

And to be able to be consistent, you need to do something that you like to do.

For example when I think of my photography business, I get the feeling that it’s something I can do for the rest of my life.

Whether it works or not is not the question here.

The only question is whether I get the feeling of me being able to stick with it.

At this point, a common question is – how can I determine if I like something?

Here’s the answer I like to give:

  • Find an area of interest that you like. It can be some hobby you like or some topic you like reading or enquiring about. In my case, I chose photography because it’s a hobby I absolutely love. And my second business (this one), I plan to make it revolve around blogging/Online business topics/self-improvement/psychology because I love reading and listening about these things.

 

  • After finding your area of interest, what is equally important is that you align it with your natural strengths. For example, though I love doing photography, I really don’t enjoy doing professional or commercial shoots that much. I enjoy teaching, so my business revolves around teaching photography. In the same way, I rather research about and teach online marketing principles than starting a digital marketing agency. Teaching comes naturally to me and is something I love to do. You make me stand in front of 1000 people and I will thank you for that, not get scared or intimidated. It excites me. I talk about this aspect of finding your natural strength in the article – Why Follow Your Passion is an Incomplete Advice.

 

The basic point is that you should try to visualise all the daily activities you will be required to perform in order to grow your business or perform in your job. And you should love or at the very least not hate them. At least not the majority of them.

Sometimes we are all required to do things we don’t enjoy but those activities should be rare.

The majority of activities should be enjoyable to you.

Even if things don’t work out for me in the entrepreneurial world, I know that I will be doing something related to teaching or training because it’s one of those fields that I can picture myself doing for the rest of my life.

This puts me at great ease because it makes detached from entrepreneurship.

Tomorrow everything can go wrong and I won’t be too disappointed since I know I can always get a teaching job and I’ll still be happy. And once I’m settled again, I can give entrepreneurship another shot.

Ideas that have an aura of eternity relax you.

So I suggest you play the longer game and start asking yourself the question that we talked about.

Whether or not your business/job will work because of it is for no one to say. But one thing that will happen for sure is that you’ll feel at much more ease overall.

More importantly, you’ll know that you are being authentic.

And that authenticity is bound to, at one point or another, shine in the form of excellence.

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Do It Your Way. The Key to Enjoying Entrepreneurship.

Today, we’ll be talking about why you need to start relying more on intuition as opposed to blindly following a set of rules when it comes to entrepreneurship or your work or the way you live your life.

Let me ask you a question:

Who are the top entrepreneurs that you know?

Take some time to answer.

If I’m not wrong, most of you would have thought of people like Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Ratan Tata and all those famous entrepreneurs that we keep hearing of again and again.

And surprisingly that’s the trouble.

The word ‘entrepreneurship’ has been contaminated because the moment someone says ‘entrepreneurship’, we immediately think of business and people associated with business.

But, new age entrepreneurship is shifting from this. Entrepreneurship has started to become a very individualistic scenario. For instance, why wasn’t your answer ‘Tom Cruise’ or any well-known entertainer?  Some of you might have thought of them but most of you wouldn’t have. This is because we still think of entrepreneurship as ‘business’ whereas if you really want to enjoy entrepreneurship, you have to start thinking of it from your point of view – you’ve to start realizing that business is secondary; you are first.

Let me share this story with you that left me pleasantly stunned:

I follow a beautiful blog titled ‘Becoming Minimalist’ (Website: www.becomingminimalist.com) run by Joshua Becker. He shared a story where he once was talking to a businessman about his website and blog. Amidst their conversation, the businessman said to Joshua, “You have such huge audience and crazy following but still, I don’t see you networking too much or getting in touch with sponsors or advertising your blog and website. You’re leaving too much money on the table! Your website can earn you millions!”

Joshua had an amazing reply to this; he said, “So what if I’m leaving millions on the table?”

I loved this response because I’ve observed that a lot of people who really want to start a business get bogged down even before starting one. This is because entrepreneurs feel that in order to become some kind of a ‘valid entrepreneur’, one needs to have a crazy business model that needs to be scalable and efficient. One needs to have employees, logos, cards and so on for a successful business.

However, this is not true at all. The problem here is that you’re thinking again from the business point of view whereas the starting point has to be YOU. You need to know: Why are you starting your business? How will it impact your life? What are your genuine desires which will be fulfilled as a result of your business?

Once you analyse this properly, you’ll realize that YOU CAN DO BUSINESS YOUR WAY – you can run an entrepreneurship project the way you want. This realization will take away a lot of stress off your life.

For example, if you don’t want your business to be scalable, if you’re happy with your little earning; if you’re happy with your small business that you don’t want to expand – that’s perfectly fine. Remember that there’s no one forcing you to expand your business – in fact, there are so many businesses that remain the way they started. Think of a café – there are so many cafés that started 50 years ago and still remain the way they were started. Their owners are happy running the café; they are happy being small.

Such café owners did not think about any sort of business expansion when they started off – they just planned less and acted more. This is what authentic entrepreneurs do. Remember that to be an authentic entrepreneur, you need to start from YOU – even though this might initially sound selfish.

You need to ask yourself what you want to do with your business. Remember that it’s perfectly fine to run a small business forever; after all, who is forcing you to go big? Going big invites stress. This does not mean I’m against expansion. I believe, expansion is a skill – some entrepreneurs possess this natural skill of making their business big. But, you might not belong to this group of entrepreneurs. Your natural strength might be something else – it could be creating innovative products or services that help a small community of people. This realization will help you stay content and happy with what you’re doing.

A lot of people take unnecessary stress of putting things a certain way when starting a business. Don’t take this stress. Start from you.

You should not run according to how your business needs to grow. On the contrary, your business should be run according to how you want to grow.

Therefore, ask yourself: What is growth to you? What are your genuine desires that you want your business to fulfil?

Once you answer these questions, you’ll realize that a lot of what you do in your work life is not really required. You’ll realize that you can completely do things your way. In fact, when you do things your way, your responsibility and stress go down, you enjoy your work and hence, you have a higher chance of being successful at what you do.

So, go ahead, trust your intuition and play it your way!

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What is boredom? How to overcome it?

Hi! Welcome to Episode number 08.

In this episode, we’ll be talking about what boredom is and how you can overcome it.

The usual answers to get away with boredom are: ‘Indulge in activities you like’, ‘Do all sorts of things that bring you pleasure’, ‘Make friends and have fun’ – which is fine and will be a part of our forthcoming answer too; but, we’re going to go slightly deeper because all these answers revolve around the surface of the problem – they don’t go to the root of the problem.

To understand the root, let’s take a philosophical scenario:

Imagine there are two roads – one is the road to boredom and the other is the road to responsibility.

Let’s look at the first road – the road to boredom.

This road is narrow with a lot of potholes and speed-breakers. It is no fun to drive on with no scenery around. But, this road has pit-stops which are a lot of fun. So, you can stop at one of them anytime and just enjoy life.

When driving on such a road, the journey is not very exciting because you cannot drive smoothly due to the condition of the road. Moreover, the scenery is very dull. So, you tend to get bored and your mind naturally starts focusing on the next pit-stop.

Therefore, all you do on this dull, unpleasant road is stop at a pit-stop, enjoy life for a while, have fun and move ahead to stop at the next pit-stop – and the cycle continues. Therefore, all you are doing is relying on these regular pit-stops to keep yourself functioning.

Now, let’s look at the second road – the road to responsibility.

Unlike the road to boredom, this road is a wide highway with pit-stops and beautiful sceneries around.

When driving on such a road, you are always having fun since it’s such a smooth ride. You enjoy life at the pit-stop too and are happy to move ahead since you know you’re going to enjoy the smooth highway journey ahead which is filled with beautiful sceneries.

So, this is a win-win situation since you not only enjoy the pit-stops but also the highway.

Thus, your pleasure of driving on the highway is intensified. This is because you’re aware that whether you stop or are on the go – you are definitely going to have fun!

How do we take the road to responsibility and apply this analogy to life?

Many people live their lives driving on the road to boredom. They choose a life where they’re ready to sacrifice the journey for the pit-stops. In other words, they choose a life where their focus is on the pit-stops.

Such people work at jobs they dislike; jobs that bring them boredom – just for the sake of looking towards and enjoying life at the pit-stops. For example, they work from Monday through Friday looking towards the ‘Saturday-Sunday’ pit-stop which brings them happiness, joy and pleasure.

However, people who observe this vicious cycle chose to do something different. They decide to drive on the road to responsibility. Such people build courage to answer the following three questions:

Question 01 – What am I good at?

Question 02 – How can I do what I’m good at such that I enjoy it forever?

Question 03 – How can I add value to someone else’s life by doing something that I enjoy?

When the answers to the above three questions work together, you start driving on the road to responsibility. The drive on the road to responsibility ensures you are fulfilled with the journey since it allows you to enjoy all way through.

Besides, the pit-stops here are cherry on the cake – you stop at them, enjoy a while and move ahead happily. These pit-stops are 100 times more enjoyable than the ones of the road to boredom because once your halt at a pit-stop is done with, you move on with your journey that you so enjoy doing. The happiness you experience is never-ending. There is no fear of your pleasure ending because you know that if one pleasure ends, the next one begins. The drive in itself is so fulfilling that you don’t even sometimes need a pit-stop. A pit-stop on your drive is a bonus. Unlike the road to boredom, your focus while driving on the road to responsibility is on the highway, and not the pit-stops.

Such a road is called the road to responsibility because it requires courage to be responsible to drive on this road. Responsibility is realizing the fact that you are here to live a life you’re meant to. To live that life is a responsibility we have because that’s how we will make our lives better and at the same time, improve the world around us in some way.

So start a self-enquiry that is based on questions like – How can I do what I’m good in such a way that I can earn a living from it? How can I add value to someone else’s life by doing something that I enjoy?

The moment you start asking yourself these questions, you leave the road to boredom and come onto the road to responsibility owing to your readiness to self-analyse to answer the questions. Then, this becomes a never-ending trial-and-error activity where you’ll keep steering your wheel while still driving on the road to responsibility, thus attaining fulfilment. You then just need to make your drive better by continuously steering yourself into the right direction. You’ll always drive on this road since you’re living your passion with a purpose.

So, if you’re feeling bored – you’re actually shirking responsibility.

To get out of boredom, find out what you need to be responsible towards. ’Living a happy life’ could be the first responsibility you can take up. This may sound selfish but this really is the first step. Till the time you are not happy with your own life, the desire to help others does not arise naturally. When you’re happy, you’ll naturally find a way to make others happy. This, however, is the second step.

The first step on the road to responsibility is to find out and act on what you’re good at and what it is you enjoy doing – even if you don’t get it right at first. Remember that nobody, who drives on the road to responsibility, initially gets it right.

And your ride can be completely different to someone else’s ride. Don’t compare. What makes you happy can be considered unconventional and weird by the whole world. But don’t get discouraged by that. Seek advice but ultimately listen to your own gut and instinct.

The road to responsibility is never-ending, but once you’re on it – the drive is smooth, the pit-stops are pleasant and the drive leaves you happy thereby reducing the intensity of boredom.

Where’s your ride heading?

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The Biggest Marketing Lesson I learned and How it Can be Applied to Life

Hi! Welcome to episode number seven. In this episode I will be talking about one of the biggest lessons that I have learnt in marketing while I was selling my products and services. That lesson has got something to do with the term called ‘decision stress’ and how this particular term can also be applied to our life to make it better so that we can live a much more efficient and fulfilling life.

First, I am going to talk about how the term relates to marketing and selling. What does decision stress mean? When I say decision stress, I am talking solely about the customer. You should keep in mind that when you are trying to market or sell a product or service, you stand a much higher chance of converting i.e. selling your product or service when you decrease the decision stress on your customer. This is what I have seen in my experience. So then what does the term decision stress actually mean?

You must have noticed that whenever you buy something and you are just about to pay for that product or service, you experience some level of stress. This of course depends on the price of the product or service. The higher the amount of money involved the more stress you face. But it’s true even for smaller decision. Sometimes even when you recharge your phone you face some stress. Since money is going out of your account, you are bound to face some stress. This is the type of stress we are talking about.

I learnt three things about reducing decision stress. The most important step is that you should clearly be able to communicate to your customer how your product or service is going to improve their life. This should be the main criteria of your sales pitch. A lot of people talk about features of their product or services, which are not very important to the customer. What you really have to communicate is the benefit of the product or service as well as how it will improve and change their life for the better. How can you solve the pain that they are facing and whatever issue they may be facing? Moreover, how can your product or service get rid of their problem?

Take for example that you wish to sell a camera. It would be desirable if you show two images from different cameras. One image should be from the first camera which is the superior camera that you are trying to sell and the other image should be from a normal camera that people generally tend to use. You should place both the images from the two different cameras side by side. This will give people the opportunity to realize how a particular image will improve the moment they buy this camera.

The blunder that most marketers make is they would talk only about the features. For instance they would talk about ‘This camera comes with 25 megapixels. This is the sensor size. The body has these functions’ etc. All such explanations are fine since you do have to talk about the features. However, not every customer might be familiar with such terminology which usually consists of technical terms as well.  Instead, it’s better if you clearly let them know how the product is going to affect their day to day life.

The second point is you should be crystal clear while you tell them how they will receive this product or service once they make the payment. There should be no doubt regarding this. You should never let such a situation occur where your customers have made the payment and after that you are giving them instructions. The customers should know beforehand since that is what they want. They are paying for the product or service and they want something in return. Hence, you should completely spell out how they will receive the product and how this whole transaction will take place. There should be no doubt in the consumer’s mind. When there is no doubt, the decision stress will decrease.

The third point that you should keep in mind is that you should put something out there which lets the customers connect with you. They should feel that they have you at their fingertips when they need you. Just putting something simple like ‘Call me on my cell number in case you are facing any issues’ increased my conversions. Why? Because it generates trust and it decreases the stress for the consumer.  They will know that they have someone to talk to immediately if anything goes wrong in this whole process of buying this product. I am a solopreneur so I give my own number. You can have a dedicated team for this as well.

The three things mentioned really have to be present in your sales pitch. Be absolutely clear in everything you do. Whether it is your landing page, your flyer or any kind of a promotional material that you have, you should be really clear. Take mobile apps as an example. Some apps do much better than others. That is because the entire flow is so convenient for the consumer. The customers know that if they press these buttons, the job will be easily done. Always make sure that you make everything clear and communicate clearly to your customer. There should never be a doubt when they are reading about your product or when you are selling your product or service to your customer. That would definitely decrease their decision stress. The more you decrease the decision stress, the better it will be for you.

How can this aspect of decision stress be applied to life?

Before I answer this, I want to tell you about a very interesting research study that I was reading about. The study was done as follows. They divided a group of people into two groups. Let’s call them Group A and Group B. For a few days they made these two groups stay under two different conditioned environments. They presented Group A with a lot of decisions to make. They would give these people choice after choice. Let’s say they presented them with a doughnut and a pastry. Then they would ask them which one do you want to have? Similarly, they would give them the choice between two t-shirts. They would get to pick. They kept presenting them with choices and the group members had to pick one choice after going through the different options.

Group B did not get any choices. They were just given the t-shirt, food item etc. without being asked to choose from a range of choices. On the one hand Group A got to make a choice about everything and on the other hand Group B did not have any choice.

After the study got over, they put both the groups together and told them to put their hands inside a box of cold water. The temperature of the water was very cold since the water was really chilled. Then they made the observations as follows. People from Group A could not put their hand in for too long whereas people from Group B could keep their hand in the cold water for much longer.

The conclusion was that because Group A was required to make a lot of decisions their energy was going down because of these choices. Their decision stress was actually directly impacting their energy levels and their willpower levels too. Group B did not expend their energy in any decision and so they had conserved all this energy without wasting any of it. Thus, Group B had more will power because now they could put all their energy in putting their hand in the cold water.

What does this mean for us? This means that we can use the aspect of decision stress to improve our life. Try to live your life in such a way that you are taking minimal decisions. Make sure you know exactly what you have to do especially when it comes to ordinary things where making a decision is just not worth it.

For example, when it comes to deciding what you want to wear you can reduce the decision stress just by having a very limited variety of clothes in your wardrobe. I am not saying that you should dress simply. What I am saying is that you can limit your wardrobe to only those kinds of clothes which you like wearing. This spares you from having too many options to pick from. In my case, I like wearing a black t-shirt and a pair of jeans or shorts most of the time.

Try to find those ordinary tasks where you can reduce taking decisions. From the time you wake up till the time you sleep, try not to make any decisions as much as you can especially when ordinary tasks are concerned. I am talking about tasks where the decision stress is not worth it. Remember that these types of tasks depend on you as an individual and so you will have to find out for yourself. The example I gave is just from my own life is because I don’t value clothes that much. I am happy wearing something very simple. There might be some other aspect in your life where you can use this aspect of decision stress to reduce unnecessary burden on yourself.

You should reduce the number of decisions you take regarding things that are not contributing to your life. You can reduce the decision stress by simply eliminating choices. My advice would be for you to watch a video titled ‘Paradox of Choice’ on YouTube. This is a Ted Talk by an elderly gentleman and it talks about exactly what we are talking about here except it goes deeper. The best thing is that you can apply this to a lot of things; your food, your clothes and even the kind of people you hang out with.

Try to reduce stress from every aspect of your life so that you can be sure of what your day looks like. I am not asking you to become completely mechanical but figure out those things where decision stress is not worth it.

The moment you do that you will start to save and conserve energy which is just going for waste. Then you can put that energy into much productive tasks which are of value; tasks where decision stress is worth it.

These are the more important tasks in your life, the kind of tasks that actually matter.

And when your attention and energy goes to them, your life naturally improves.