Question from a reader --
Checking in. I've been working on the 90 day productivity challenge. I haven't been able to reach my main goal, which is to create my first profitable business.
I tried and quickly gave up on freelance web design. Now I am attempting to create a Spanish language course aimed directly at Car Salespeople (this is incredibly relevant in California, where I live). My three tasks for accomplishing first iteration are 1) creating a minimal product, 2) setting up a website selling the product, and 3) marketing it through a Google AdWords campaign.
However, I am finding that I have little time, or more accurately, little energy outside of my job to pour energy into my own pursuit.
I therefore have two questions:
1) What would you do (or have done in the past) to fit more energy in your day to get projects done?
2) How would you direct my attempt at building my first business (whether with this idea or another) so that I can GET THE FIRST ONE (success or failure) under my belt?
1) This is "the fundamentals" stuff -- wake up earlier, work before work. Exercise when you get home, go for a run, take a quick shower, and immediately start working. Dozens and hundreds of good articles have been written about this, but sadly, none of them are magic. You just have to try a number of things until you find your rhythym, and then repeat that diligently.
*Try waking up at 4:30AM or 5AM, and working before work.
*Try exercising after work intensively, showering, and then getting right to work. (That's what Dan Andrews did when he was employed, worked for him)
*Write down your most important 3-5 things to do the night before. Just do those. If you do those, the day is a win.
*Other productivity stuff -- self-management, time tracking, good diet, etc. Not rocket science, just takes some discipline.
2. I'd get a list of all of the car dealerships within 50 miles of you. This shouldn't be hard. Then, I'd send them this email.
Subject: Do you sell cars to Spanish-speakers?
Body: I was wondering if you sold cars to Spanish speakers, and sold in Spanish?
Are you really good at it?
I've been working on a course on how to do that... I think it could be huge for your profits if you're not already killing it in this area... I'd love to show you what I'm working on for free and get your feedback, it'd really help and I might be able to make some extra money. Can we do a quick coffee at your dealership?
The only goal of the email and first line is to get the email opened.
Then you want to get them thinking.
Then you want to meet with a strong offer. The offer there is kind of weak actually, I wrote it in like 10 seconds. You could definitely do better, but I think it's good enough.
Follow that up with a call two days later to every dealership, and go in and meet all of them. Bring pad and paper. Ask questions, get all their goals, note how they talk, note how the profession works, etc. Share something valuable. Stay in touch with them. Maybe you could sell a few copies directly from these meetings.
This will give you feedback on if your idea has legs and could work a lot faster than Adwords... small sample sizes being what they are, with a small budget Adwords might take months before you have statistical significance if your idea is working. And there's so many places in the process that your conversion could be broken, so you might have a good idea but you aren't communicating it well on your site. In fact, I'd say that's more likely than not. It's easy to screw up selling things online, and a single "multiply by zero" at any of five stages means zero results... even if your execution is 95% incredible.
So yeah, I'd recommend...
*Make a list of all dealers within 50 miles of you (this won't be hard at all, car dealerships want to be found)
*Send an email to all of them, use the one I wrote verbatim if you want
*Followup two days later with a call
*Visit, ask questions, gauge interest, take copious notes... ask what they'd recommend you price it at, and if they'd buy a copy if it were polished. Be helpful and useful, and grateful.
That should let you know if you've got legs or not. Godspeed,
I had a wonderful chat with Oscar del Ben last week. We swapped some interesting ideas, but one that fascinated me was him telling me how fast he learned English. Given I travel a lot, I was curious as to how he did it. Here's his thoughts -
Hey Sebastian, I think that in order to learn languages quickly, you have to use them. It took me a bit to learn English pronunciation, and I still make many mistakes without knowing it, but the trick is to continue despite the mistakes you make. When I was learning, my girlfriend said that there was no chance for me (bad memory, bad pronunciation), but I didn't give a damn.
Anyway, in my case I had some background from school, even though very little. What worked for me was reading tons of books in English, and then talk with other people via skype.
If you only read books, you'll be able to understand 70% of your target language in one month, assuming it's similar to ones you know (I've never tried wit very different languages). But by only reading you'll have no idea about pronunciation, so I encourage you to listen to music or audio as well. Note that you'll have to get the lyrics of the songs, otherwise it will be nearly impossible to understand, even if you already know the language.
With this, you can get very far, but you'll be missing communication abilities, because you never exercise your speaking abilities. To do that, find a friend who communicates in that language over skype (should be easy if you do english exchange), or practice alone by recording your voice.
We've been in Panama for two days now, but it seems like weeks. There's obviously still TONS to explore around the city, but I'm already comfortable here and it even feels a bit familiar.
First of all, I love it. For me it has the ideal balance between chaos and structure. It's very safe... people are at least as friendly as they are in the US, if not moreso. They go out of their way to help us and put up with our mediocre Spanish. Our hotel right now isn't in a great area (though not a bad one either), and I feel totally safe walking a few blocks to go to a diner.
Even though it's safe, there don't seem to be a lot of minor enforced rules. Taxi drivers ignore speed limits and stop signs. The drinking and gambling age is 18, but I've heard even that's not enforced. You don't get the feeling that you're being overprotected or treated like a child.
The food has been MUCH better than expected. There are several vegetarian cafeterias that we've found already which are incredibly good and cheap. The one we visited tonight was owned by a very friendly Chinese couple (have you ever heard Chinese people speak Spanish?). There were maybe forty different dishes they had, and a serving of any one was only fifty cents. I asked for orange juice without sugar (most fruit drinks here have sugar) and they fresh squeezed it for me for only $1!