In 2012, I took 250 coffee meetings in 400 days to build my professional network in Chicago.

I went from quite literally knowing no one to building relationships with some of the biggest influencers in the entrepreneur community.

It’s safe to say that  I learned a few things in the process. I even had a coffee meeting with my idol, James Altucher.

Five rules of building a successful professional network:

Rule #1 – The easiest way to be remembered is show up every week for a year straight.

The below excerpt is meant for advertising professionals to show the value of repeat advertising. Apply it to the value of you interacting with the same professionals over the course of a year.

The first time people look at any given ad, they don’t even see it.
The second time, they don’t notice it.
The third time, they are aware that it is there.
The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it somewhere before.
The fifth time, they actually read the ad.

[Read More. It goes up to 20]

The best connections I made were from a group that met every Friday at 6 pm for a happy hour. I went every week for a year straight.

Gary Vaynerchuck is the master at repetition. He recorded over 1,000 videos for WineTv. 1,000!

You shouldn’t expect any ROI from networking within the first six months. Real connections take time. It also helps you take your time building genuine relationships, and not closing deals right away.

Rule #2 – The best networkers aren’t business card collectors. They are hustlers building real value.

The most interesting people at any event you attend are the people who are starting something. They are the ones with the stories, the struggles, and the successes.

They aren’t there to build a Rolodex. They are there to learn from others and find others that can help them succeed.

For you, this means that it is never too late to start a side hustle.

Nothing ends a conversation quicker than “I’m an accountant at a mid-size company.”

Be interesting. Start a side hustle.

Rule #3 – Dear Introverts – Don’t overthink small talk.

When an introvert asks me about networking, they always ask “What should I say at a networking event? I’m not good with small talk. I don’t like to talk about myself.”

There are two questions you should ask everyone you meet at any networking event:

  1. What are you working on?
  2. How can I help you achieve your goals?

That’s it. Stop worrying about what you’re going to say and instead become interested in them. Ask deeper questions about the company they are building or the company that they work for.

Every interaction becomes that much easier.

Also, remember why the other person is at a public function. They WANT to meet new people. You’re not breaking into their house at midnight demanding to know what they do for a living.

Rule #4 – Networking doesn’t have to happen at a networking event. Get that out of your head immediately.

Introverts run away from networking because they believe this involves meeting strangers at an after work event and mindless small talk resulting in exchanging business cards and never talking to them again.

Extroverts love it because they get to add people to their network, and in most cases, end up doing nothing with these new contacts. They just like the act of meeting new people.

Networking doesn’t have to happen at a networking event. Get that out of your head immediately.

Networking is first and foremost about building better relationships with your existing network and then it’s about meeting new people.

The real way to network is to start with your core group first and expand outward from that trusted group.

The hands down biggest mistake most “networkers” make is that they’re so busy focused on meeting new people, they’ve completely forgotten about the great network that already exists around them.

Rule #5 –  If you’re not having fun building your network, you are doing something wrong.

There are three reasons to “network.”

  1. To learn something.
  2. To meet interesting people
  3. To have fun.

Ideally, you hit all three of these points. If you don’t hit any, you need to question what you’re doing.

What are the benefits of networking?

I tried to rephrase this question without sounding like your college counselor, but I couldn’t do it no matter how hard I tried.

Getting involved and putting yourself out there is truly the only way to create opportunities for yourself.

You should network to build a better career, make more money and to create long-lasting friendships. Networking is a long-term affair. If you’re in it for the quick sale, you’re going to be sadly disappointed. It just doesn’t work that way.

If you want to make more money, get promoted and build long lasting friendships all while removing all the roadblocks from making this happen, this guide is for you.

The truth is that in today’s complicated business landscape, no one can do everything. There is someone out there who needs your skills as much as you need their resources, mentorship, or the experience you can gain from working on their projects (or with their team). The trick is for you to be able to find one another. These days, your career is a team sport, and you get first pick.

I put together four steps to building a professional network.

Ready, Let’s go.

Step 1: Find your second home, fast. AKA: Build your community.
Step 2: Utilize your existing network to strategically expand.
Step 3: The tools and processes to maintain and grow your network.
Step 4: General networking tips

STEP 1: Find Your Second Home, Fast. AKA: Build Your Community

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is a parlour game based on the “six degrees of separation” concept, which posits that any two people on Earth are six or fewer acquaintance links apart. Movie buffs challenge each other to find the shortest path between an arbitrary actor and prolific character actor Kevin Bacon. –

The first major mistake most people make with networking is assuming that you have to know everyone. Is it good to know everyone? Sure. Is it possible? Absolutely not.

Your new #1 goal is to be at most 2 degrees of separation from the influencers in your industry.

This means you should either know the influencer first hand or know someone who can connect you to that person. I’ll show you how to do this. These networking tips are tested, and work for any industry.

Step 1.1: Identify who are the influencers in your industry. Find the people you admire in your industry. Find the people that you don’t have a relationship with, but want to have a relationship with. Find the people that could potentially hire you. This is where you start.

Step 1.2: Put a plan together to build your community.

To get 2 degrees away from an influencer or head honcho, you just need to find those people who are most likely connected to those people. These are the people at other levels under the influencer you’d like to become closer to.

How? You do this by becoming an extremely active member of a professional organization that aligns with your objectives and your influencers objectives.

I’m going to teach you how to target, stalk and engage someone (legally of course).

This activity requires a LinkedIn account. By now, you should know how important LinkedIn is for all things career related. At this point, if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, you should stop reading and go back to posting quotes on your Instagram.

If you pay for a premium account, fantastic. If not, you can still accomplish all this without one.

Step 1.3: Write down the people you consider the top performers or the most professionally connected in your desired industry and city.

I use LinkedIn heavily to do my research.

Step 1.4: Email them

The next best step is to email them with one simple question. So, you’re probably thinking, “Well, that escalated quickly Robbie. I haven’t even met the person, and you want me to cold email them?”

The answer is, yes.

Let’s say you want to email Janet Davis who is a VP of a successful digital agency.

Your email should contain 2 sentences.

Subject: Hi Janet – A good digital marketing event or organization that you could recommend?

Body of Email:
I’m looking for a high-quality networking group to be part of in the digital marketing space. Are there any you would recommend in the Chicago downtown or suburban area?

Based on my research, you would be the best person to answer this question. Thank You!

– Robbie

This email is ideal for several reasons:

  1. It’s under five sentences (so it’s short and sweet).
  2. You have successfully introduced yourself as someone who is genuinely curious to join a high-quality group.
  3. If she runs a networking group or event, she will recommend that you attend hers. Voila! This is your “in” to meeting Janet in a comfortable environment.
  4. You’ve shown that you have done research about her, which will make her more likely to respond.
  5. Once you start your search, you should send at least 5 of these emails.

Step 1.5: Plan B: Scope the scene yourself

If you don’t get a response and don’t know where else to get good recommendations about local events, this is your next option.

Find 3 types of events:

  1. General Meet & Greet Networking (Network after work, Speed Networking).
  2. General Networking with an emphasis (The Chicago Black Professionals, Cheers for Moms, Chicago Technology LGBT, etc.).
  3. Event / Speaker Focused (Tech Event with a speaker).

What event should you go to first?

I know this answer sounds simple, but exudes many people.

  1. Go to the event that has the people that you want to meet.
  2. Go to the event that you have something in common with.

For example, if you are a graduate of Notre Dame University, and you had the option of going to the Digital Marketers in Chicago Meetup or the Notre Dame Digital Marketers in Chicago Meetup which one are you going to go to?

The Notre Dame event. Your college alumni are the most likely to help you and connect you.

The normal digital marketing group will be less likely to help you initially because they don’t have any common bond with you.

Whatever you do, don’t go to the event where you feel the most comfortable. Go to the event that will give you the most value.

Here’s an easy way to get started:

  1. Go to http://meetup.com
  2. Select your city
  3. Select Career & Business

 

If you’re looking to start a company and don’t have a clue where to start, I see 3 events out of the 8 pictured above that can benefit you immediately in terms of building connections with Chicago entrepreneurs.

I was going to make a joke about there being only one group for you if you are Asian, professional AND love horses, but then I realized it’s the year of the horse for the Chinese Lunar New Year in 2014, so I’m an asshole and I retract that statement.

Step 1.6: Attend

Networking events get a bad rap. I hear the same things over and over from people who don’t like them: “Oh, they are such a waste of time.”

My advice on this topic is to use networking events consistently as an entry point into a new industry, then ramp down the number of events you go to and focus on a few that keep you connected.

Use them as a survival technique initially with the plan of becoming an official organizer or leader of a Meetup group. My suggestion is not to start one, but to join one.

Networking events are useless for me now because I already know enough people to get connected to the people I want to. I’m already 1 or 2 connections away from Kevin Bacon.

Tips:

  1. Do not go there with an agenda.
  2. Do not go there looking for a job.

The only real benefit of a networking event is when you start to see the same people over and over.

Here is how a conversation usually evolves if you attend the same event multiple times:

1st time: “Hi John, so what do you do?”
2nd time: “Hey John, good to see you again. How did your project end up?”
3rd time: “Hey John, it’s a pleasure to see you as always. My project to get more connected in the digital marketing space has been going well. I’m looking to connect with the founders of digital marketing agencies in Chicago. What do you think the best avenue is for me to do this? Is there anyone that you can connect me with?

Note: If you don’t have a job right now and you’re not creating anything, there should be no reason why you aren’t at these events at least 3 times a week. Going to a networking event is 100 times better than what you are doing now: “looking for jobs online.”

Step 1.7: Get officially involved

If you found a group you like, it’s time to get involved in a low commitment way so that it doesn’t interfere with your job, but still gives back to the community and helps you maintain your edge. You never know how organizing an event, or hosting a get together of colleagues and acquaintances might benefit you.

Step 2: Take it the next level: Expand Your Core Group and become the hub. [Advanced]

Step 1 is a lot of work, I’ll admit it. It works like hell, but yes, it’s a lot of work.

You can do this exercise without doing Step 1, but it only really works well if you already have a great core network. Professional networking is, in my opinion, the act of you becoming a professional at networking.

Step 1 is the grassroots way to build a network and the foundation for my system. Whether you’re a college student, or a job seeker looking to advance, these networking tips will take you to where you want to go, but you have to do the work first.

Let’s say you have an excellent network of contacts and you want to build a closer relationship with your group and start involving influencers more often.

Ideas for different types of groups you can create:

Start your own small networking group. Create a monthly or bi-monthly networking group.

  • Private, invite-only type groups around a niche topic or industry

This is my recommended approach when it comes to building a hub. I would almost always start here.

Start with about 6-10 people in your industry that you have a good relationship with and ask them if they are open to meeting once a month or once a quarter. You can meet at a bar/restaurant to start it off. If you can meet at one of your offices, even better.

The key to making this work is making sure that everyone in the group is quality. If you get one bad apple, then others will look down on it and down your group goes.

At the actual event, you can set a topic and discuss it. It doesn’t need to be formal. You are opening your network to others, and you will now be helping your network be more connected.

The idea is that you keep expanding the group for each new event. You ask each member to refer one new person that you think would benefit from this group and help others.

  • Private, invite-only dinners (or even breakfasts)

Same concept as the private invite only groups, except this time, you invite new people every single time. This is much harder to pull off in my opinion but can reap a lot of great rewards.

I know in one instance the host of the group charges $100 for each event and dinner and drinks are included. It’s a premium price to pay, but it can bring in some great relationships.

That’s an extreme example but I wanted to show you that you can be creative with how you do this.

  • Public recurring events

These are usually industry events with a keynote speaker and attendees. These are events you would find on meetup.com.

This is a very time-consuming effort, and so you should only do this if you have the time and you’re in it for the long run.

With that said, the results from organizing this event will help your career ten fold.

Step 3: The tools and processes to maintain and grow your network.

Over a short period, I built one hell of a network. The problem soon became managing my network correctly.

I use two tools to manage it. As you will quickly notice, it’s nothing spectacular or out of the ordinary.

  1. LinkedIn
  2. Email or an email marketing tool such as MailChimp

Here’s the one big tip I use to manage a large group of people.

Here’s my process:

  1. I make a new contact
  2. I add them on LinkedIn
  3. Send a quick email to them saying it was nice to meet them at the event.
    1. In that email, I also ask “I have an email newsletter that goes out about once a month. I help connect my network with each other and give you a small update about what I’m working on. Would you like to be added to it?”
  4. Add them to my newsletter once they agree. This is where I use MailChimp.
  5. Send out the newsletter once a month.

I do this consistently. No excuses.

Here’s what I include in the newsletter:

Subject: Robbie’s connection newsletter #37

Email Body:
Hi, all – Lot’s of great new things happening on my network this month. Here are some of the best ones.

  • Mark just launched a new company. You can check it out here. If you like food, this is something to check out.
  • My good friend Jeff is looking for a new gig. He’s the best project manager I know. You can find his resume here <link>
  • Lisa is looking to hire a new marketing analyst. If that’s you or someone you know, feel free to reach out to me and I’ll connect you.

Lastly, this past month has been real busy for me. It doesn’t feel like I got much done, but in reality I’ve done quite a bit! I’ll be announcing it in a few months, once the project is ready to be launched.

That’s all for this month!

As always, if you have anything to share with the group, please email me and I’ll include it in the next newsletter.

This is all that I send, and it works wonders.

I’m now helping others get connected with one another and I become the super connector. I also reap all the rewards from helping other people.

Also, if you didn’t notice, I’ve essentially given myself job security. I now have a huge audience of people who can help me if I need to look for a job.

Luckily, I haven’t used it for that format, but it was a great security knowing I had that leverage.

I also use LinkedIn to post status updates and write new articles using LinkedIn Publisher. It keeps everyone in the loop about what I’m working on.

Step 4: General Networking Tips

Your network should consist of contacts, colleagues, references, mentors and protégés – and they should all be rooting for you. People aren’t computers: you can tick all the boxes on paper, but if they don’t like you, they won’t want to work with you, and they certainly won’t go out of their way to help you.

1. Make it about them: Follow the 80/20 rule: Only 20% of a conversation should be about you. Listen to the person you’re talking to, instead of thinking about what they can do for you. Draw them out. Show a genuine interest. And if you can help them in any way, volunteer immediately.

While you are interested in selling your services, no one wants to feel like that’s the only reason you’re talking to them. Furthermore, if you have taken an interest in their needs and goals, you’ll be better situated to offer them services and suggestions you know they can use. If you can align your needs it’s all for the greater good: there’s nothing more attractive than a perfect fit.

2. Have integrity: It’s about being trusted as much as it is being liked. Losing your reputation for honesty, fairness and straight-dealing can be a death blow: who’s going to entrust you with anything important then?

Be vulnerable: It’s ok to ask for help or advice, and to be upfront about what you need. Trying to pussyfoot around the subject just makes you look shady. Telling people what you’ve tried, even if it hasn’t worked, shows them that you’re serious and already working on your own behalf. They may have tips and feedback to help you on.

3. But not too modest: Standing next to the big fish in your pond, you may feel rather small. But don’t be intimidated – there’s a fine line between paying your respects and pulling yourself down and you need to draw it. This isn’t the time to be modest: if you don’t acknowledge your strengths, how is this highly connected stranger going to recognize them?

In the professional world, we like to think that status is a measure of merit. Rightly or wrongly we value confidence and competence, and being deferential implies that you’re less capable than other people. No one’s going to entrust you with a task you don’t look like you can handle.

Even if you have fewer awards, a more limited reputation, a weaker backhand in tennis, carry yourself as this person’s equal. After all, you’re not dying to work with the person who’s a smaller fish than you, are you? Neither are they.

4. Discuss your side projects: You want to show that you’re active in your own right, helping yourself instead of expecting others to step in for you. No one intentionally infects themselves with a parasite, but it feels good to help someone who shows promise.

Side projects are great for this purpose for two reasons: first, they’re completely your baby, so they prove you’re self-motivated and skilled enough to carry them off. Second, you can discuss them freely without giving the impression that you talk about your company’s work out of school. Remember what I said about being trustworthy?

5. Respond: to that email or phone call. Keeping in touch with old friends is important.

6. Reconnect: Be the one to send the email or make the call, and catch up with old colleagues and companies.

7. Reach out: to new people. This is the tricky part, but don’t let it intimidate you. There are ways and means of doing it effectively.

In conclusion, networking skills take work, but the payoffs are huge!

Before we dive into the 8 major interview questions and answers. Let’s talk about how to answer them. These are tough questions to answer for fresh graduates and seasoned managers. I use a very specific methodology.

I use this method to answer almost every interview question.

Two types of interview questions:

  1. Behavioral Questions – These are the “Tell me about a time when” questions. Everything else. These are common during the first phone interviews with HR.
  2. Everything else – I like to make things simple 🙂

Let’s dive into how to answer behavioral questions.

Behavioral Questions

Anytime the questions start off with “Can you tell me about a time when?” these are behavioral questions. They are often awkward, but unavoidable. These are typical examples from my experience:

  • Tell me about a time when you didn’t get along with a manager. How did you handle it?
  • Tell me about a time where you failed at something.
  • Tell me about a time when you were in a group that wasn’t performing.

So how do you answer these types of questions?

The biggest piece of advice I can give is to provide a specific example that you encountered. It is the absolute kiss of death if you start to talk about what you would do. Don’t talk about what you would do. Nobody cares. They want to know what you did.

If you find yourself giving a general example, stop yourself and think about other examples.

Pro-tip: have about 4-7 situations prepared in your mind already that you can talk about. Then you can take one these situations and customize it for the interview question.

For behavioral questions, I also follow the STAR method religiously.

It’s called the STAR method for a reason.

Situation or Task – The particular situation that you encountered. Usually, this situation involves some drama or something going wrong.
Action – What you did to remedy the situation. Not your group member. You.
Result – What was the outcome.

Seems simple enough, right?

Here’s an example:

Question: Robbie, can you tell me about a time that a project wasn’t going well? I’d like to hear more about how you handle stressful situations.

Answer: Great question Tom!

<SITUATION>
“I was brought in to manage a project that was severely short staffed and had no clear project deadlines. On top of that, there was a lot of turnover at the client, and this made everything that much harder.

<ACTION>
The first thing I did was make sure I understood the scope of the project. I heard many different versions of what was supposed to be the project, but no one gave me a straight answer. I put together a presentation of my findings, and I presented it to the executive board. The board then gave me insight on what the real scope was.

I then took that information and came up with a new project and resource plan. We were severely understaffed, so I let the board know that we couldn’t complete the scope as intended if we didn’t have the right resources. This was an uphill battle, but in the end, I was able to reduce the scope and get a few more functional resources on the team that we desperately needed.

<RESULT>
The result was we went live with the project on-time with the new plan without any turnover during the last four months of the project. It was a success, and the project team and board were happy with the results.”

 

BOOM. DONE. Notice how I never said, “Tom, this is how I would handle a project that wasn’t going well.” It’s all about the specifics. You need details or else you will be crushed in the interview. It’s obvious if someone is talking from experience or guessing.

P.S. It’s a habit of mine to respond twith “Great question.” It’s an ego boost for the interviewer and serves as a good transition to my answer.

EVERYTHING ELSE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Why they ask this question:

The reason they ask this question is very simple. Are you a motivated individual or not? They want to hire someone who is thinking ahead and are interested in your future career path.

My answer:

“I’m a big believer in being challenged in my work. I’m always looking to advance my career and at the same time, I want to be happy in my career. I see myself being challenged, and I see myself in a great work environment. An environment that pushes me to become a better person and to learn great skills.

I don’t know exactly what title I will have in 5 years. I’m always looking to advance, but the main thing for me is that I’m learning new skills and I’m happy with my career path. I strive to create a good working environment for my colleagues and I hope that others do too!”

 

Why I answer like this:

Notice how I didn’t say things like, “I want to be a manager?” or “be promoted to XYZ position”?

I purposely avoid answering with that because we all know it’s next to impossible to figure out what’s going to happen in 5 years. I don’t know what I’ll have for breakfast tomorrow, let alone what’s going to happen in 5 years.

The other thing is that it can cause an issue. For example, if you say “I want to be a manager, like you,” then the manager could take that as a signal that you want to replace them. It’s far-fetched, but I’ve learned just to stay away from the specifics. You have no idea what the interviewer is thinking, and you don’t want to fall into any traps.

I stick with “advance my career and be happy,” and it has worked wonders for me.

2. What is your biggest weakness?

Why they ask this question:

I’ll give you a million dollars if you could figure this one out for me. I know the intention is to find out why they shouldn’t hire you, but I’m not sure what answers they are expecting from this answer. However, I do have a firm answer for this question.

My Answer:

“Great question. For me, it’s all about focusing on the strengths. I think that’s where the most value comes from. So, let me rephrase your question slightly. I’ll tell you why you shouldn’t hire me. You shouldn’t hire me if you’re looking for someone to just execute sales deals. you shouldn’t hire me if you’re looking for someone to put quotes together. Could I do that? Of course. But I’m also at a point in my career, where that’s not the best of my time or yours.

You would hire me because my strength is building relationships with executives and helping them create a bigger better solution. That’s what I’ve always been good at and that’s why you should hire me. I’ve also been building my network in this industry for the past 3 years, so I have a headstart.

Why I answer like this:

I immediately reframe the question to “this is why you would hire me” and “this is why you shouldn’t hire me” which they will like. Your ability to tell them straight why they shouldn’t hire you shows them that you know your value and what value you can bring.

3. What is your biggest strength?

Why they ask this question:

The interviewer wants to know if your strengths are aligned with the strengths needed for the job. It’s like a cheat question. Instead of asking questions to determine if you’re a fit for the job, they decide to let you determine that for them. Sorry, no more sarcasm for Robbie today.

If you get this question, use your research to tell them exactly what they want to hear. If your strengths don’t fit in perfectly with the job description, you don’t deserve the job.

My Answer:

Ironically, my answer is the same as the biggest weakness question.

“Great question. For me, it’s all about focusing on the strengths. I think that’s where the most value comes from. So, let me rephrase your question slightly. I’ll tell you why you shouldn’t hire me. You shouldn’t hire me if you’re looking for someone to just execute sales deals. You shouldn’t hire me if you’re looking for someone to put quotes together. Could I do that? Of course. But I’m also at a point in my career, where that’s not the best of my time or yours.

You would hire me because my strength is building relationships with executives and helping them create a bigger better solution. That’s what I’ve always been good at, and that’s why you should hire me. I’ve also been building my network in this industry for the past three years, so I have a headstart.

 

Why I answer like this:

The quicker I can tell them I am a fit or not a fit for the job, the faster the process goes.

4. Why did you leave your last job?

I wish “none of your business” was an acceptable answer to this question. However, it is a valid question, and you should have a good answer for it.

Why they ask this question:

There is only one reason why they ask this question. They want to know if you’ll have a similar reason for quitting this job. This is a simple, but effective, due diligence question.

For example, if you say, “I quit my last job because they over-worked me,” their response might be: “Well, just to let you know, we have a “work hard, play hard” type of culture here. Are you sure you can handle that?”

And before you know it, you’re on the defensive. You never want to be on the defensive in an interview.

My answer:

“I left my job for several reasons, but the main reason is that I had a great opportunity to do something different and it was something I couldn’t pass up. I really appreciated everything my last job did for me, and I learned a lot.

It was just time in my career to move on. I still have great relationships from my time at the company, and we catch up for lunch once in awhile. I left amicably and gave a 2 week advance notice. We both agreed that it was a good move for me.”

 

Why I answer like this:

My answers are always positive, and yours should be too.

You know the real reason I left that job?

“I was sold a bag of bad goods. They told me my job would be like X and it turned out to be a complete lie. I was doing a job I hated. I wasn’t learning anything and I did everything in my power to get a new job.”

That’s the real answer, but I’m smart enough not to say that. As soon as you present a negative vibe, your chances of acing the interview are over.

So, I stick with the traditional “I had a really great opportunity, and it was my time to leave,” spiel. It works great and gets them to go to the next question. I also did leave amicably and gave a two weeks notice. I never burn bridges.

5. Do you have any questions for us?

Yes, are you going to hire me, how much will you pay me and when can I start?

That’s how I would like to answer that question. But, again, if you haven’t noticed the theme yet. I stick to the practical, positive answers. Regardless, I always have questions prepared to ask the interviewer.

Why they ask this question:

They ask merely because it’s a formality. However, it is obvious they want you to have some questions. Ask no questions, and you’ll look like an idiot. It’s that simple.

How I answer:

First off, I never wait for this question to be asked before I start asking questions. My #1 goal with any interview is for it to be more like an informal conversation.

So, I ask questions frequently. The better questions you ask, the better off you are.

Here’s an example question I’ll ask:

“First off, thank you so much for this opportunity. I’ve really enjoyed our conversation. One thing that caught my attention was when you mentioned that an average project length for your projects are 3 months. In my experience, many of the projects I’ve worked on, were at least 6 months in length. Even the smaller one’s were still 4 months long.

What makes your projects so much different? The reason I ask is I want to understand your delivery process better, and the types of resources needed for your projects.”

 

Why I answer like this:

I asked because I genuinely want to know the answer. Second off, I’m well aware that I am judged by the quality of my questions. I showed that not only am I listening to what my interviewer is saying, I’m also able to ask intelligent questions about why they do the things they do.

The questions I ask are almost always based on something they say, and will always prove that I know what I’m talking about. It’s why I avoid general questions. I’m going to show that I know my topic inside and out and that I’m able to ask deep questions. If something seems off or different in what they are saying versus my experience, I’ll ask them about it directly.

6. Can you tell me about yourself?

If there is one question you need have an excellent answer to, It’s this one.

This question is not: “Can you read off your resume and tell me about every job you’ve ever had in chronological order?”

To succeed at this question, you need to understand why someone would hire you. The message you give during this answer can make or break the response.

My sarcastic answer:

“Hi, my name is George. I’m unemployed, and I live with my parents.” ~George from Seinfield. Sorry, I had to include that.

How I answer:

The goal with this reply is to start off the answer by giving a clear, concise answer to who you are. If you can’t summarize your entire career in 1 to 2 sentences, it’s not clear enough. I’m not saying your whole answer is 1 to 2 sentences, but the first words out of your mouth better be as clear as possible.

“Great question, John. Over the past 10 years, I’ve had the great pleasure of working for great firms such as Accenture and Deloitte as a technical lead and project manager. My strength has always been being a strong tech lead, but also be able to communicate with business executives at the client. This is an area I’m strong in, and would like to continue to work in”

BOOM. There you go. Ten years summarized in one short paragraph. Trust me, I can go down the rabbit hole and give more details, but I want to plant the message as early as possible.

“I can go over my Resume if you want, but I don’t want to ramble on. Is there anything in particular that you want me to go over in more detail? I’ll be more than happy to spend more time discussing it.”

Notice, how quickly I asked a question to the interviewer? This was intentional because every interviewer is different. I don’t want to waste their time, and I don’t want to talk about something that they don’t want to hear about in the first place.

This is a fantastic way to lead the conversation to be more productive and you’ll also get a better sense for how the interview is going.

 

Common Mistakes:

The most common mistakes is for candidates are to go over everything in chronological order and to make the answer a 10-minute long answer instead of a 1-minute answer. Resist the urge to tell them everything. Trust me; they don’t care.

It can only hurt you.

7. What is your greatest achievement?

They ask this question because they want to understand what you consider to be a great achievement. They need a benchmark. This is not about what they would consider a great success. This question is especially prevalent for managerial or executive positions.

How I answer:

“There are a lot of achievements I’ve had in my career. The one achievement I consider to be the greatest that is most relevant to this job and happens to have had happened recently.

I moved an IT department that was failing in every sense of the word, and made it a more nimble and customer focused organization. I brought on a new team and implemented many of the standards that are used today.

The reason it was a big achievement was because there was a lot of resistance internally about making this happen. This type of project had never been done in the company before, so there were concerns about whether or not I could make it happen.

After the transformation was complete, our IT team was able to fix our downtime issues and respond back to IT support tickets three times as faster as were able to before.

I lead the charge on getting executive approval and I managed the project from start to finish. It was a mentally grueling and time consuming exercise, but we were able to make it happen. The team is in a much better place now.”

 

Why I answer like this:

I followed the STAR method, mentioned in the first part of this article, to the tee. I gave a very specific accurate answer, and I spoke about the results.

I can’t recommend enough to have a very detailed answer ready. We want to hear about your successes.

8. Why do you want to work here?

Because I like money, and the word on the street is you would pay me more of it than others. Is this true?

I don’t really like this question, but it’s a necessary evil. Let’s be real. If you didn’t think the company would pay you more money than you make at your current job, you would never be in the interview in the first place.

Of course, money isn’t everything, but c’mon. It’s enough to get you to move from one company to another.

How I answer this question:

I like to keep the answer as real as possible while still being politically correct.

“Three reasons I want to work here. The first reason is that my good friend highly recommended this company. I don’t take those types of recommendations lightly and I respect his thoughts. That’s #1.

#2 – I did a lot of due diligence. I asked former employees and I looked on the website, social media and news. One thing that is apparent is that this company is focused on growth. I’m at the point in my career where I would like to continue growing my career, and that is only going to happen at a company that also wants to grow and make investments.

#3 – Culture is important to me. The one thing I’ve noticed during these interviews is that many of the people I interview with all have the same positive attitude. I didn’t hear any bad-mouthing or people complaining. I’m always focused on the positive and this was a great thing for me to experience.”

Those are the three big reasons why I would like to join.

 

Why I answer like this:

I like clear and succinct answers. I usually break it down into a small list, up to 3 reasons.

Common mistakes:

Don’t mention money. Even though that is 95% the answer. Don’t mention it. It won’t get you anywhere.

Don’t ramble on. Be succinct.

Make it genuine. Show them that you did the research.

Compliment them! Did you notice how every single one of my points I was complimenting them? Make them blush.

In Conclusion

With proper research, you can answer these questions very powerfully. Spend a significant time coming up with different stories from your career that you can use during the interview.

I would love your feedback on this post. Answer the following questions in the comment section below:

  • What part was your favorite?
  • What part was your least favorite or least helpful?
  • What part was missing or do you want me to expand on?

[Pssst – If you’re looking for specific interview questions & answers, go here]

I was the world’s worst job interviewee. 

You name it; I made the mistake.

  • I called interviewers by the wrong name.
  • I told interviewers that I didn’t appreciate that my paid-for flight had a connection and whomever organized my hotel was not an organized person. (I still cringe thinking about this one. I didn’t get the job, and I can pinpoint it to this exact moment).
  • I name dropped people the interviewers didn’t get along with.
  • I opened up my Dell laptop while I was waiting for my interview at IBM Headquarters (When IBM was in the computer business and direct competitors of Dell).
  • I arrived late to interviews because I went to the wrong office.
  • I screwed myself out of thousands of dollars during salary negotiation because of things I said during my interview. This unfortunately happened multiple times.
  • I had 17 interviews with Google. 17! I kid you not. This was for one job. I messed it up at the end by talking smack about a bad boss. To be fair, the question was “Tell me about your worst manager.” I fell for it, and I’m 99% certain I lost the job because of the way I answered it.
  • I took phone interviews while I was half asleep during the middle of the day. (This was for Google attempt #2. I’m over it, but I still lose sleep over how stupid I was to pick up the phone after I was taking a midday nap AND THEN PROCEEDED TO TAKE THE INTERVIEW.)

The good news is that I’m alive and I’m here to tell you everything I know about interviewing.

I’m going to teach you how to flip the script and have a competitive advantage before your first interview is even conducted. In flipping the script and learning my new interview skills and techniques, you can significantly improve your odds of getting what you want, and avoid cringe-worthy mistakes that will haunt you.

If it works for me, it can work for you.

Ready?

Change your mindset. Everything you know about interviewing is wrong.

The actual interview doesn’t happen during the interview.

It happens before the interview begins.

Before the first HR phone interview. Before the first on-site interviews. It happens even before you get the first email inviting you to interview.

Read this little quip from the former SVP of People at Google.

“In other words, most interviews are a waste of time because 99.4 percent of the time is spent trying to confirm whatever impression the interviewer formed in the first ten seconds. “Tell me about yourself.” “What is your greatest weakness?” “What is your greatest strength?” Worthless”.

If you’re like me, you’re probably the worst first impression maker of all time.

So, if 99.4% of the time, the interview is a waste of time because they are too busy confirming their bias, what do you?

You make the first impression before you speak to them.

Remember, the five steps from Chapter 1?

Step #1 –  Be the best at what you do.
Step #2 – Tell the world exactly what you’re good at.
Step #3 – Show undeniable proof that you’re the best at what you do.
Step #4 – Bypass the traditional hiring system by building direct relationships with executives.
Step #5 – Become better at what you do, even if you’re already the best.

If you did Steps #1 – 4 correctly, interviewing should be a breeze. HOW you got the interview is 10 times more important than the interview itself.

Let me lay out a real life example.

I received a random Facebook message from a college friend. Their company was hiring, and she thought I would be a great fit. She introduced me to the SVP of the division. I had one somewhat formal phone interview, and he invited me to attend the once a year company party and also speak with the other people in the division.

I was the only person invited to the party who didn’t work at the company. The people I had interviewed with the day before the company were astonished that I was invited to the company.

“How did you get invited to the company party? You don’t even work here yet? I’m not even sure why I’m interviewing you.”

I still remember when one of my interviewers told this to me. I had the job in the bag BEFORE the formal interviewers even began. All I needed was the SVP to give his blessing, and the rest was downhill. Keep in mind, HR and Recruiting have no idea I even exist. I submitted my resume as a formality after our interviewers were complete.

I proceeded to have a blast at the party and meet everyone I would potentially work with.

Now, I’m not telling you this to brag. I’m telling this to you so you understand that you don’t have to follow the traditional hiring system to go through the process. The faster you can get an SVP to endorse you for a job, the better everything comes.

So, how did I get an endorsement from an SVP before formal interviews even began?

I wrote about productivity and project management. My friend, whom I haven’t spoken to in 4 years loved my post and thought I would be a good fit for their growing company. She also had a great relationship with the SVP.

I told her I was happy where I was, but I would be interested in learning more.

The productivity post had over 400,000 views, and that was amazing social proof that I knew what I was doing.

That’s all the SVP needed to hear. Our phone interview was less than 15 minutes before he invited me to the company party.

Social Proof makes every interview a breeze.

I never got asked, “What’s your greatest strength?” You know why? They already knew what my greatest strength was. They already read my articles on productivity and project management. They saw all the comments on the article. They already read my LinkedIn profile which laid out clearly why someone would hire me.

So, when I walked into my first formal on-site interview, it was immediately a conversation. The SVP already told the interviewers that he liked me. The deal was done before I arrived.

What does this mean for you?

This means that you have to work on building social proof and making sure your online presence tells everyone what you’re good at. If the interviewers don’t know anything about you during your first interview, you lost. You made your life that much more challenging.

When you interview or apply for a job, the interviewer gets as much information about you as possible. Your resume, LinkedIn profile, Social Media, and Google.

Let that sink in. Before you even utter a word to a real person, they have already formed a judgment of you. You’re interviewing with real humans after all. This is human nature. Now, use this as an opportunity for to you take advantage of this knowledge.

I know what you’re thinking. But, Robbie, this is why I created a resume! My resume tells the interviewers everything important about me!

A resume is a factual representation of your professional experience. It doesn’t allow links to your other work. It doesn’t actually allow you to craft a story of who you are and what your work represents to you. It doesn’t allow people to endorse you, or respond to your work. It’s not a good story-telling mechanism. You need to tell a great story.

This is the formula to get a competitive edge before the interview starts.

  1. Your LinkedIn profile is updated and tells the reader precisely why someone would hire you. If you need help with LinkedIn, read this ultimate guide to LinkedIn [Not Released Yet].
  2. You have social proof online. You have a few resources that you can link to that makes you look credible. This is more important than you think. The beautiful part about LinkedIn is that you can include these resources on your profile.

Ironically, the above 2 steps are the same for getting the interview in the first place

Before, During and After.

That’s it! You’re all done!

You’re probably thinking:

Robbie, I don’t believe that Google guy who says 99.4% of interview decisions are made within the first 10 seconds. Give me the details of how to nail an interview. Don’t BS me.

Ok, ok. Do you still want to prepare for the .6%? Let’s do it.

STEP 1: How to Prepare for a Job Interview

You prep your food like this, right? It’s the same process for an interview. Except, you don’t have a nice camera and a hipster wood cutting board.

Got an interview? Congratulations. Now, let’s make sure you close the deal.

The next step is to tell your interviewer everything they want to hear, without lying or stretching the truth.

I don’t recommend lying– ever. Lying is not an option. You want to focus on forming what ideas they will take away from meeting you, within those precious first 10 seconds.

The problem with this is figuring out what to tell them. Each interviewer has their own agenda. You might interview with three people in the same department for the position, but all three interviewers have different reasons for interviewing you.

Jane is too busy and she wants to offload some of her workload to you. Ryan needs your help leading a new marketing initiative, similar to what you did at a previous employer. Frank didn’t like the first person who worked there and just wants to make sure you can get along with people in the office.

So if you knew this information beforehand, you would modify your message for each interview.

Jane: You would emphasize your ability to get things done with minimal supervision.
Ryan: You would talk about the results from the last marketing project and the process you undertook to make it a success
Frank: You would emphasize your ability to get along with others, and provide examples of how your friendships have helped the company grow.

There’s just one small problem. How do you get this information before the interview starts?

Ahhh yes, never fear–Robbie is here to save the day.

This is my approach.

Research the company

Use social media to get to know everything humanly possible about the company you’re interviewing with. If you know who is going to interview you, that’s bonus points.

Here are some things I do when researching companies:

  1. I look up their company name on LinkedIn to see how many employees they have.
  2. I use LinkedIn to see how many employees at the prospective employer have my job title or a similar title. Am I going to be 1 of 100, or am I going to be the only one with this job title?
  3. I look for recent news on the company. I do this by going to Google News and searching for the company name to see what comes up. Use quotes when searching the company name to make sure only exact results appear.
  4. I look on Twitter to see if they posted any news that doesn’t show up on their site.

Research the interviewer

You won’t always have this information, but if you do, that’s a bonus for you.

To get this information, I usually ask HR or my first contact within the company about who exactly will be interviewing me.

I also use Advanced Search on LinkedIn and search for “HR” or “Product Manager” with the company name as a filter to narrow down who I will be talking too.

chapter2 linkedin

To get more information when speaking with HR, I’ll say something like “Is it possible to get the full name of the person interviewing me tomorrow? This information helps me prepare for the interview and make sure it’s productive for both of us. Thank You!”

Once you get this info, look them up on Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and any other social media platforms. Your goal is to understand more about them so you can customize your answers based on what they want to hear.

Let me repeat this again. The key to a successful interview is telling the interviewer exactly what they want to hear. They are asking you questions, not because they don’t know the answers, but they want to hear your take on them. They already know what a good answer is. The more you know about them, the more you can understand what answers they will like or dislike.

For example, they might have Tweeted or wrote an article on LinkedIn about how they don’t think MBA’s are worth the investment.

So now you know exactly what to stay away from if you have an MBA. You now know not to say things like “Well, I learned this in one of MBA classes at blah blah University.” This information from stalking helps tremendously. So stalk away my friends.

No blackmail.

Just legal, professional, informational gathering stalking!

Use any of your connections to get the inside scoop

Go on LinkedIn and search for anyone that has worked at the company or still works at the company you are applying at.

If you’ve been good a job searcher, you’ve been keeping strong relations with your LinkedIn contacts. Reach out to them and tell them you have an interview coming up and you would love to ask them a few questions.

People are more open to helping you than you think. They’ll also provide more information that can be helpful for when it comes to interviewing.

STEP 2: Make sure the company knows exactly why someone would hire you before they interview you.

Kramer gets fired from his job he technically never worked at.

You know how OJ Simpson got away with murder?

His lawyers told a better story than the prosecutors.

I’m not saying go and murder your spouse. All I’m saying is your story matters more than you think. Your story matters more than a list of facts, which is basically your resume.

Your goal is to tell the best (and most truthful) story possible.

The goal is to feed as much information to all of the interviewers about you before the interview starts. This is possible even if you don’t know who’s interviewing you.

This is how you do it.

Feed them your LinkedIn Profile before the interview starts.

Remember, your story sells. Facts are important, but the story sells. Telling a story is scientifically proven to activate our brains. If you’re an Android user and can’t fathom for the life of you why everyone loves Apple so much, then that article is for you.

Resumes’ are too hard to tell stories. That’s why I love LinkedIn so much and so should you. LinkedIn profile, your articles, your story and any published articles that you’re mentioned in to establish social proof.

LinkedIn is the center of your online brand. You should do everything in your power to get them to look at your LinkedIn profile, assuming it’s up to date and you followed my comprehensive LinkedIn guide [GOES LIVE MARCH 13TH]

If you do this properly, you will find the rest of the interviews to be dramatically easier and more productive.

Work with the person who referred you within the company or HR if they are facilitating the interview.

STEP 3: DURING THE INTERVIEW – FLIP THE SCRIPT

[image source]

OK, you’ve got your story down. You’ve got enough information about the employer and interviewers. Now comes the actual interview.

I’m going to assume you look good, smell good and have extra copies of your resume (that matches your LinkedIn profile, of course) with you.

You have to make another small, but mighty mental change.

They are hiring you for you to teach them something, not the other way around.

I only learned this trick after becoming an independent consultant. The rules are different when you’re an independent consultant. The expectation is clear from the employer. They are not hiring me so they can train me to grow into the role. They are hiring me because they need my help with something specific. If I don’t know exactly how to do it, they aren’t going to hire me.

That’s the change you have to make. You’re approaching this interviewer with a proven track record of you being able to do.

The key to this chapter:

Let’s assume each interview is 30 minutes. I’m going to break it down into 4 sections:

  1. You arrive at the office before the interview officially starts.
  2. First 5 minutes.
  3. 6-16 minutes
  4. 16-30 minutes

The new goal: They talk. You listen. You should know how to handle the basic interview questions, but ideally, you want the interviewer to spend more time telling you about the job than grilling you. 

TIP #1:

Establish credibility with real stories from your career as early as possible in the interview.

I don’t want to be grilled with hard questions for 30 minutes. I want to establish credibility right away, so I can spend the rest of the time grilling them.This is the core of “flipping the script”. Let’s turn the tables on them.

When I establish credibility, I do this by telling very candid and specific stories to how I achieved a goal specific to why they are hiring me. For example. I was interviewing for a project management role. And the question was “Do you feel comfortable managing large projects?”

I nailed the response:

“Great question, Lisa. I’ll tell you a specific story about a project at Deloitte Consulting. I was the lead Project Manager for a global project. It was a 300 person project, and I was the global PM for the project. It was the most complex project imaginable.

The project spanned 7 countries and we had consultants flying in from all over the US. I was tasked with interfacing with 2 functional leads for the client. It was one of the biggest and one of the most important projects for the client as well.

In the end, the project was delivered on time and on budget. Don’t get me wrong, we had our issues and I still have nightmares about it, but we were able to get it done. The biggest thing I learned from managing this project is that with so many moving pieces, you can’t control everything. My main job as a Project Manager, was to make sure different teams were communicating with each other and manage team dependencies. I made sure to over-communicate deadlines and the importance of the deadlines.

I went out of my way to speak to the leads individually at their desk, during lunch and before we wrapped up for the day. Communication was key to this, and it also gave me the confidence that I can manage large projects, should I be asked to do so again”.

 

BOOM! DONE. Notice how I didn’t just say “Yes. I feel comfortable,” and talk about how I was Project Manager for 8 years. I went straight into the details that I know will not have any follow-up questions. Lisa just can’t refute what I said.

Then this is when flip the script happens.

TIP #2:

Don’t ever say “I’m a quick learner”. I go into more detail in this article.

From Chapter 1 of this course, you already know how to answer the dreaded “So tell me about yourself.”
You also know how to prepare by stalking your potential interviewer, and that you should try to anticipate what their stance might be on issues (like that MBA) that can cause unnecessary awkward moments.

You know that you should be doing more listening than talking. This will save you from the impulse blurt of “I’m a quick learner” or “My greatest weakness is caring too much about my job.” Be real, be honest, and use these tools I’ve given you to try and head off these questions before they become a reality.

The more you talk in terms of tangible, evidentiary description about who you are and what it is you can do for their company, the less likely they will be to rely on vague interview questions that haven’t changed in decades. There’s a reason there are so many articles that pop up in response to “What to say to ‘So tell me about yourself’?” It’s a dreadfully posed question, but you don’t have to subject yourself to it. Take my advice and use it to earn a competitive edge in the interview process, avoiding such questions and providing ample time to discuss what you want: salary, schedule, projects, etc.

IN CONCLUSION

You’re screwed before the interview even starts. Do the necessary steps to make sure your online presence is an enabling you to advance. It all starts on LinkedIn.

I would love your feedback on this post. Answer the following questions in the comment section below:

What part was your favorite?
What part was your least favorite or least helpful?
What part was missing or do you want me to expand on?

I had an interesting year. I didn’t want to just share the highlights because I don’t think that’s genuine.

So, I decided to share the good, the bad and the ugly. I think you’ll enjoy it.

I created 3 sections:

  1. Travel
  2. Fire Me I Beg You
  3. Marriage & 2 Year Old Child

Each section is split into multiple sections: Good, Bad, Ugly & Lessons Learned.

I’m going to start with travel because the rest of this piece is in context to travel.

TRAVEL

It was a dream of mine to move to Thailand for an extended period of time. I talked about it for a long time, but I never really had the financial means to do it.

In June 2016, it happened.

Me, my wife and my 2-year-old daughter packed our bags, rented out our apartment in Chicago, moved out of my office, took my 2-year-old daughter out of daycare, and my wife quit her job.

Over the period of 6 months, we went to the Middle East (Palestine, West Bank), Thailand , Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, China & Japan.

GOOD

  • The feeling of “getting away” from your current life is an unbelievable experience. For the first time in my life, I felt I was on the outside looking in and not the other way around. It changes your perspective on everything.
  • Something predictable happens when you’re in great beach weather. You stop eating like dirt. You get up and want to exercise. You want to walk around more. You look out the window more. You question the purpose of life. You question your role in this world. You people watch more. I never set out to lose weight or get healthy. It just happened because of the weather and the healthy Thai food around us.
  • Phuket, Thailand & Tokyo were VERY friendly places. The people were a lot more friendly than I thought, especially in Tokyo. For being the biggest city in the world, this was surprising to me.
  • I got to meet up with Noah Kagan in Thailand. He is a big reason I do what I do and one of my “marketing mentors”. I learned through his writing.
  • I taught a class at the University of Birzeit in Ramallah, West Bank. My biggest regret is not taking a selfie with the class. The message I delivered to the class was “Anything is possible”. This message is even a little too cliche for me, but I thought it was the appropriate given the audience.

BAD

  • 2-year-old kids and moving don’t go along well. This one can go under the “No Shit Sherlock” file.
  • In Tokyo, my daughter started telling us “All done train”. She was sick of being in a different place every other day. We had to find a Toys R Us, just so she could play with toys for an hour.
  • Before the pitchforks come out, this was only for the last 3 weeks of our trip. We were stationary most of the time in the same apartment.
  • You lose motivation to do anything productive, besides exploring around you.

UGLY

  • I hit a parked car within 5 minutes of getting my rental car in Thailand. Yes, a parked car. My excuse is that I wasn’t used to driving on the left side of the road, but it doesn’t matter. A parked car is a parked car. It was pretty bad, but the family was OK. The car was not.

LESSONS LEARNED

  1. Physical and emotional space is necessary. The West Bank and Tokyo are crowded places. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. In Thailand, I woke up every morning with an open mind to the day. In Japan and the West Bank, I didn’t wake up with an open mind. I always felt there was something to do and I never really got settled. Achieving physical and emotional space is not an option for many people because of financial reasons. (I’ll be writing about this shortly)
  2. Cousins are great. Too many cousins is too many cousins. When I was visiting family in Palestine, I learned something very quickly. I’m going to see my cousins every single day, whether I planned to or not. There is no such thing as “Pencil me in for lunch next Tuesday.” That’s not a thing. Everyone is family, so it’s your obligation to see family almost every day.
  3. Snapchat is going to take over the world. I didn’t post much about-about my travel on Facebook because I felt that it would come off as humble bragging. Instead, I used Snapchat every day. Instead of picking the best pictures or videos of my trip, it allowed others to follow along with me. I can’t tell you how many people said that they felt like they were following along with me. You should give Snapchat a try if you’re sick of FB. P.S: Follow Me: FireMeIBegYou
  4. If you make money in the US, you can live like a KING/QUEEN in Thailand. I’m lucky enough to have the skill-set to be able to work from anywhere and make US money.
  5. You never go to the beach and then make money. You make money first and THEN go to the beach. You know those people who teach you how to “make money while you’re on the beach.” You should unfollow those people immediately. It’s not a thing. Also, if you are a salaried employee with vacation time, you are technically making money while you’re on the beach.
  6. Money is MORE important than passions for the 99%. Money allows you to explore and make mistakes. Passions are things that happen after you make money. I’m going to write about money a little bit more in-depth because I don’t think it’s talked about enough. And it’s not going to be one of those “I made $1MM in one year, here’s how you can do it too!” type of articles.
  7. This trip would not be possible without money. EVEN though it was cheaper to live in Thailand than in Chicago, the move requires a safety net for unexpected expenses. It reinforced the importance of this topic. I think there are misconceptions about how people make money in the real world. Again, I’ll be writing about this topic more often.
  8. We all have too much stuff. We began our trip with 4 big suitcases and a carry-on. We ended up with 1 suitcase, which is all we needed for all 3 of us. Japan is the master of “stuff optimization” given how much little space they have.
  9. When buying a rental car, it pays to use an international brand even if it costs more. When I got into an accident in Thailand, Budget came to the crash site, handled everything for me, and gave me a new car on the spot. I was off and running in no time. I came close to using a rental car agency off the main road, but I’m glad I didn’t because who knows what would have happened after the accident.

FIRE ME I BEG YOU (FMIBY)

2016 was one of the best and worst years for FMIBY. The first half of 2016 was dedicated purely to launching products. It was good that I launched them, but then bad because I started too much in a little time. I overextended myself.

GOOD

  • I launched FMIBY Swag. Sweatshirts, T-Shirts, Mugs, and even infant outfits. Swag is part of my “overall vision” for FMIBY. I think Fire Me I Beg You should be a global brand.
  • I launched an Adult Coloring Book.
  • I started “Hire Me I Beg Youwhich is geared towards Career Centers at Universities who can offer this program to their students. My first client was the University of Denver. I think this has long term potential.

BAD

  • I stopped writing. I had this picture in my head that I would be sitting poolside with an umbrella and my Laptop drafting the next version of Fire Me I Beg You. The exact opposite happened. I didn’t want to write anything. I didn’t even try to write. It was worse than writer’s block. All I wanted to do was go to the beach and run. I had a beautiful view of the ocean. And that’s all I did.
  • I made a large switch in pricing for the “Summer of Quitting Step by Step.” The biggest mistake I made was I made it a “cancel anytime” agreement. So, you would pay month by month and cancel whenever you are done with the course. This gave me unbelievable anxiety. The feeling of waiting for someone to cancel is not something I want to deal with. I’d rather get a request for a full refund, then just looking at emails every month wondering how many people would cancel. I’m going to back to the original pricing soon.
  • I offered people counseling, and I didn’t deliver. Part of the upsell to Summer of Quitting was I would reach out every two weeks and check on progress. I did this for two months, and then I stopped. It was on the back of my mind for four months. It was called accountability sessions, and I wasn’t accountable to myself.
  • Most of my email list was used to promoting the stuff I was creating. I have to get back to my roots of creating real value.

UGLY

  • It took six months to get my swag listed on Amazon. I got a bad recommendation of a vendor to use to send my ALREADY PRINTED swag to Amazon. Long story short, I had to threaten to call the police for stolen goods before It was finally sent. This was an absolute disaster. The vendor was straight up lying to me the entire team. He would tell me “Amazon is having warehouse delays. All my clients are experiencing it”. The reality was he never sent it to Amazon at all. It was a complete lie. I’m still mad about this. BUT it’s finally live.
  • The above disaster would have never happened if I wasn’t an idiot trying to change the world in 24 hours. For whatever reason, I told the SWAG printer to send all the boxes of stuff to me first. I don’t know why I would do this instead of sending it to Amazon first. I got TONS of boxes delivered to me. I couldn’t even move in my apartment.
  • I missed my coloring book date for pre-orders by 6 months. It took six months AFTER my due date of July 27th to finish and print the books. I will never agree on a pre-order date unless I have everything in hand ready to go.

LESSONS LEARNED

  • Never delegate anything you haven’t done before yourself. I learned the hard way with trusting someone to send my stuff to Amazon warehouse. If I took an hour out of my day to create a sample shipment, I would have known right away.
  • Think big, start small. I was so excited to get my stuff out there that I didn’t think about creating one t-shirt. I went all out and created multiple variations. I thought big and went big. It didn’t work out for me.
  • I have no idea filter. You know how some people have ideas but never launch? I have ideas and launch them all. I’m sort of obsessed with launching. But, now I am going to take a *little* more time.
  • I need to get back to reading more. I just started reading again and realized how much it helps me succeed. A few tidbits here and there all add up.

MARRIAGE & 2 YEAR OLD

Do you know the quickest way to test the strength of your marriage? Tell your wife she has to quit her job to travel the world and oh by the way we’re bringing our two-year-old with us.

Traveling with a spouse is easy. Traveling with a spouse and a 2-year-old child who quite literally does not care about how comfortable you are is super duper hard mode.

(I’m not trying to gain any sympathy here with this either. What I did was a trip of a lifetime. But, a two-year-old makes you question your sanity sometimes! )

GOOD

  • Getting away was great for our marriage. Our stress was gone. Cost of living in Thailand was beyond cheap. The weather was great. The people were friendly. We were living in luxury for 1/10 the price of what we would pay in the US. We didn’t have other commitments besides the promises we made to each other.
  • My wife got a job as a Clinical Researcher at Bangkok International Hospital in Phuket. She worked with locals every day. She got to experience the real Thailand. She made a lot of great friends and learned about research is conducted in Asia. One of these days, I’ll write about how she got the job. Long story short, she followed my advice correctly 🙂 It involved Twitter, Youtube, Skype & Email.
  • We started meditating. This was one of our favorite experiences, especially for my wife who was new to meditating. In Thailand, it wasn’t hard to find a group to do this with.
  • Daughter had a great daycare in Thailand. My daughter loved going there every day. She had a great teacher and was engaged every day. Most importantly it was accredited, and safe.

BAD

  • I underestimated how my wife would adapt to change. For whatever reason, I adapt to change very quickly. I THOUGHT it would be easy to quit her job and travel. I was wrong. It wasn’t easy. You would think someone would gladly pick up their bags and move to Paradise. She thought it would be easy as well, until the week before we left. She questioned everything. She questioned my intentions. She was unsure if this was the best decision.
  • She eventually adapted
  • She then proceeded to have the same struggle a week before we left Thailand. We both didn’t want to leave.

UGLY

  • I had a meltdown in Vietnam. It was one of those meltdowns where my wife started laughing halfway through because she couldn’t believe my facial reactions. It’s one of those meltdowns where if a celebrity had it and it was caught on camera, it would quickly end their career. It was that bad.
  • It was about a lost iPad we left in security in Bangkok. The fight was started because I was too calm about losing the iPad. LOL. Then we switched places. She was calm, and I became a monster.
  • Literally 15 mins before my meltdown I told my wife that “This was the happiest day of my life.” It finally hit me that I was living my dream. 15 mins later I was a trainwreck.

LESSONS LEARNED

  • No more meltdowns. It’s not healthy for anyone
  • My wife is “Ride or Die.” I’m forever indebted to her. This would not be possible without her cooperation.
  • Marriage is built on respect. We genuinely appreciate each other. We don’t get up every morning and say “I respect you”. In fact, we probably don’t say it ever. But, the respect is there.
  • I know *exactly* how to make my wife mad. She also knows *exactly* how to make me mad. It’s the most powerful, dangerous super power ever.

2017

Here’s my plan:

  1. Go back to my writing roots. – I’m going back to writing often and will start up “Coffee with Robbie” videos again. I”m going to put a bigger emphasis on Facebook & LinkedIn this year. Basically, I’m BAAAAAAACKKK..
  2. FMIBY new blog is coming REALLY soon. I’ve learned never to publicly state a launch date. Mainly because I miss them often 🙂
  3. I’m moving to Silicon Valley, California. I have an opportunity to lead a second stage startup to the next level. If you’re there and would like to catch up for coffee, send me an email robbie@firemeibegyou.com
  4. I’m going to focus on focusing. Being able to focus on things that make the biggest impact is something I always struggled with. I’m getting better, but this is the year I make it happen.
  5. Become a better dresser. I’m the poster child for men who have no idea how to dress. It’s a combination of being lazy and not really caring what others think of me. However, I’m going to see if the “If you look good, you’ll feel good” motto will apply to me.

Thank you for listening!

You’ll be hearing from me soon. I’m just not going to tell you exactly when 🙂

Finding a new job isn’t like it used to be back in the good ol’ days. The process back then was strictly limited to the following rubric:  create your resume, apply online, get interviews.

Now when you apply for a job online, you’ll be lucky if you ever get a response. Hell, most people would celebrate if they even got an acknowledgment email.

This old process is a good recipe for spiraling into a deep, unproductive depression.

The good news is that I have a solution. And it works. Let’s focus on what works, shall we?

The following items are crucial to finding a job while employed and finding a job quickly.

The 17 Commandments of Finding a New Job.

1. The hidden job market is real. Most jobs waiting to be filled are not posted online. Just because you don’t see a job listing, doesn’t mean the company isn’t hiring. Get that out of your head right now. Print this section out if you have to. Just because the job doesn’t seem to exist online, it doesn’t mean the company isn’t hiring. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see a job posting regarding a position you want, or with a company, you want to work at.

2. It’s not about who you know. It’s all about knowing the right people who know that you’re good at what you do. Let me say this again; it’s not about you knowing the right people, it’s about the right people knowing you.I know plenty of extremely well-connected people who for the life of them can’t advance their career for this exact reason. You need to fill your network with people who have a clear idea of what you do and who you are, and what you can do for them.

3. You can build-up your network fairly quickly with some guidance, even if you’re an introvert. The first part involves getting over the fear of reaching out to influencers in your industry. The second part includes practicing over and over, how to explain who you are and what it is you do in a clear and concise way. Meeting people in a coffee shop or on the train and striking up a conversation are more casual examples. Networking doesn’t have to be as painful as speed dating, so stop thinking of it the same way. 

4. Your current company isn’t responsible for teaching you new skills. That’s your job. Don’t wait for the company to teach you anything. That’s quite literally, not their responsibility. It’s up to you to continue your education and continue to grow. YouTube videos offer free tutorials, and they aren’t just for when you need to fix your iPhone. 

5. Applying for a job online is the worst way to apply for a job. Even if you don’t know anyone who works at your target company, submitting your resume cold turkey through an online site is always the worst idea. This is especially applicable when the job you’re not an exact match for the job you are applying too. There’s a better way to do this, and I’ll show you. 

6. If you don’t know what you’re good at, neither does anyone else. Don’t assume the company you are applying to knows what you’re good at, either. 

7. The resume is dead. If you spend more than an hour a year on your resume, that’s more than enough. I will admit that the resume will never go away, so it is still needed for formality’s sake. However, LinkedIn should be your new focus, and your most up to date, online resume replacement. 

8. You don’t need a formal education to do your job. Unless you’re a doctor, lawyer, scientist or another profession that requires a certain advanced degree, you do not need a formal education. There are any number of successful business entrepreneurs without a degree that are thriving. All you need is a little determination and the internet. The internet is an amazing place. Use it to your advantage.

9. People hire people. Don’t be afraid of reaching out to people more successful than you. Nobody is doing you a favor by hiring you. They will hire you if they think you can make their lives easier. You make their lives easier by doing good work. Successful people want to hire other successful people. I cover this topic in detail in the Ultimate Guide to Networking chapter [WILL BE RELEASED FEBRUARY 20TH]. It starts here.

10. The more proof you have online that you’re good at what you do, the easier your life becomes. Remember when I said the resume is dead? Hiring managers would rather see solid proof that you’re good at what you do, then read what your job activities are. Solid proof comes from building your online presence.

11. 70% of your effort should be in your existing job. 30% should be on building skills and relationships for your next job. If you find yourself too busy focusing on your current job, then something is wrong. Prepare for your future by staying on top of creating more opportunities for yourself.

12. Hands down the easiest way to make more money is to find a new job. Ever tried getting a raise and find yourself stuck in the grid of performance reviews that underestimate your value? Yeah, exactly, don’t get stuck in this cycle. It’s easier to go out and find a new job than it is to argue your way into more pennies at your old one.

13. You get jobs by talking to people. What’s that? You hate networking? You might reconsider once you realize the power of a conversation, and how it can make your life easier. My wife once told me that networking means you’re not working because other people are doing the heavy lifting for you.

14. Companies don’t hire you because they like you. They hire you for a very selfish reason. They want to make more money! Hiring you enables them to save more money or make more money. You are there to help them achieve that goal. The better you position yourself to help them make more money or save more money, the easier your job search will become.

15. Nobody will hire you for someone you want to beExcept for your mother or your Uncle. Companies need help from someone who has proven experience they know what they’re doing. They don’t care where you see yourself five years from now. They might ask you that question during an interview, but trust me, they don’t give a shit. This is probably the hardest pill to swallow for many of you. How do you get a new job if you can’t get the experience the new job requires? This brings me to my next and final point.

16. Switching careers is never a straight line. If you want to go from IT to Marketing, don’t expect to just jump from one job to another. This applies to any career where you don’t have relevant professional experience i. In reality, there’s a lot of things that happen in the middle of a “career transition” that leads up to finally making the switch to what you want to be. Nobody will hire you as a marketer when all of your experience is in IT. To change careers without starting all over, you must launch a side hustle, which I explain more in Rule #1 below.

17. If your first contact for a job is an online job application, Recruiter or Human Resources, you’re doing it wrong. I don’t have any issues with HR or Recruiters. They are needed. Except, they are the gatekeepers and almost never make the final decision on who gets hired. What I found funny is that for my last 2 jobs, on paper, I was unqualified for the job. If I went through HR or a job application, I would have never received an initial interview.  What I did differently for these jobs is that I got support from the VP’s BEFORE applying. Since I had that endorsement, it made the entire process much smoother. I didn’t have to prove myself. I didn’t have to answer “where I see myself in 5 years”.

These questions were already answered prior to my first interview and the rest of the interviews were focused on the role and how I can help. If you want to learn more about how to bypass gatekeepers, watch the embedded video below or go to this Coffee with Robbie episode page with text transcriptions

These 17 commandments are important, but none of these commandments are helpful if you don’t take action.

Luckily for you, I created a section dedicated to helping you identify where to start. I call this part, “Now What?”

But first, I recognize that this can be a lot to swallow. So, stop slouching, get up, stretch and observe your surroundings.

Find something around you that you appreciate and recognize its existence.

Take a few minutes break before starting this new section.

NOW WHAT?

Done stretching? Great. Let’s take the 17 commandments and put them into 4 actionable steps.

  • Step #1 –  Be the best at what you do.
  • Step #2 – Tell the world exactly what you’re good at.
  • Step #3 – Show undeniable proof that you’re the best at what you do.
  • Step #4 – Bypass the traditional hiring system by building direct relationships with executives.
  • Step #5 – Become better at what you do, even if you’re already the best.

When you nail these four steps, you won’t find yourself looking for jobs. You won’t be looking because you will be getting job offers, constantly. It’s amazing how many opportunities present themselves once people know what it is you do (and that you do it well!)

Relevant Coffee with Robbie Episode – How to find a job anywhere in the world. [Hint: It doesn’t involve applying for jobs online]

It’s 20 minutes and worth every second. This will change your viewpoint on how to find a new job.

Step #1 -Be the Best at What You Do.

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Not just good, but the best.

What’s interesting about most career advice I see online, nobody ever talks about the part that matters the most: How good you are at your job. All the interview tips in the world won’t work if it’s clear you aren’t good at what you do.

Being good at what you do is the best personal branding you can ever do for yourself. People don’t want to market themselves, but by being great at what you do you market yourself every day.

So, how do you become the best at what you do?

Remember point #4? Let me refresh you real quick.

4. Your current company isn’t responsible for teaching you new skills.

To get new skills, you must learn them on your own. The best way to do this is to create a side hustle (AKA a passion project) with every intention that your side hustle will most likely never replace your current job.

You NEED a side hustle.  A side hustle almost always requires a skill that you don’t have. It requires an ability to market yourself or your product. It requires technical knowledge to build components of your business. It requires a network of people that can help you market your business or refer you leads. It requires a Rolodex of contractors that can help you with things you just can’t do for yourself. It requires you to face failure every single day. It requires you to understand a market better than you ever thought imaginable.

Most importantly, it forces you to learn.

Fire Me I Beg You was a side hustle.

The reason I’m so good at marketing now is because of Fire Me I Beg You. I wrote 200 articles in one year. I became a better writer because of it. When I released my book, I had no idea how to market it. One year later, I was coaching others on how to become better at marketing.

When I released my book, I had no idea how to market it. One year later, I was coaching others on how to become better at marketing.

It forced me to become a better writer and marketer. I would have never learned this at my full time IT job.

I think I did OK for myself.

Side hustles are how you become the best at what you do. This is how you complement your primary job. Instead of being a great accountant that only a few people within your company know about, you’re now a great accountant with an excellent website, network and social media chops that help you land your next higher paying job and some side income.

You must get out of your brain that the full-time company you work for is responsible for making you better at what you do.

There are two more things that you need to do to truly become the best at what you do.

Step #2 -Tell the World Exactly What You’re Good at.

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It all starts with you knowing what you’re good at.

This is how you do it:

Tell the story of your life.

Think of the last 4 people you recently met for the first time.

Now write down what their story was in one sentence.

For example, here are a few people I met at an event in Chicago:

  1. A guy with 2 or 3 side projects and a full-time job at big company.
  2. Bright strategy consultant who believes digital is the only place to be. She has no digital experience, but is looking to connect with digital agencies in Chicago with hopes to join a growing company.
  3. Someone who enjoys entrepreneurship and wants to learn more.
  4. Someone looking for a new IT job.

Of these 4 people, which one do you think has the best story?

Let me rephrase that.

Which one of these people do you think has the simplest and most clearly understood story?

For me, #2 has the best story. During the 4 minutes I talked to this person I knew:

  1. What her job currently is in very clear terms.
  2. What job she is pursuing.
  3. The help that she needs (connect with digital agencies).

Of those 4 people, she is the only one I keep in touch with. I’ve helped her achieve her goal of connecting with digital agencies in Chicago.The most important part of her story was that I could understand it, and I could clearly understand how I could help her achieve her next goal.

The other 3 were too confusing for me to understand and I already forgot almost everything about them.

The difference is palpable, and I remembered the Bright Strategy Consultant because I felt something as she told her story. You see, her story was all about the why. The other 3 were all about what.  This is the fundamental flaw amateur storytellers make every time. They drop loads of forgettable detail, but never get to the essence that is the why. As in, why is this important to you? Why should it be important to me? An honest story is inspiring, always.

I want you to write down what your one-sentence story is. This story is focused on your current skill set. The next step after this is to create one focused on your future skill set.

I’ll show you how I came up with my own story. The key is that I don’t know what the end result will be; I just type what first comes to my mind. I press enter, and I do it again and again until I’ve discovered the reason why, not just the what or the how.

Here is an unedited flow of how I came up with my story in 2012.

 

  • I’m an IT Consultant.
  • I help clients help themselves.
  • I’m an IT Project Manager who leads complex IT projects.
  • I’m a self-taught developer who manages IT projects.
  • I lead complex IT projects as an independent consultant, specializing in SAP Software
  • I’m a technical Project Manager who leads IT projects for enterprise companies.
  • I help deliver projects through my communication skills.
  • I’m a Project Manager whose main focus is to manage IT projects.
  • My goal is to make everyone’s life easier through leading complex IT projects.
  • My mission is to make your life easier by helping solve complex IT issues and projects.
  • I will make your life easier by untangling and delivering your complex IT projects.
  • I solve complex IT problems while making everyone’s life easier.
  • IT projects all have the same problem regardless of what the technology is. My specialty is untangling troubled IT projects with clear guidance from IT and Business.
  • My specialty is untangling complex IT projects by acting as a communication bridge between IT and business.
  • My specialty is turning around and leading complex IT projects by acting as a communications bridge between IT and Business.
  • I lead complex IT projects because I believe IT has power, but if it’s not supported with great communications, nobody knows what to do.

 

 

Ah, yes! This last one sounds great for me.

If someone asks me who I am / what I do in conversation, my answer is “I believe in the power of IT. My specialty is turning around and leading complex IT projects.”

That’s my current story.The other stories were good, but they weren’t clear enough and they weren’t powerful enough. Let’s be honest, we’re not going to remember your details, but we will remember what you stand for.

Now let’s move on to your future story. Ideally, your future story is what you will be known for if everything works out the way you planned it.

Here’s my unedited flow of how I came up with my future story while I was writing Fire Me I Beg You.

 

  • I’m an IT Career Coach.
  • I help IT professionals advance their careers.
  • I mentor business professionals looking to advance their careers.
  • I empower business professionals to take ownership of their own careers.
  • I help motivated business professionals transition to self-employment.
  • I mentor business professionals who were recently laid off.
  • I mentor business professionals who are interested in transitioning into a career in digital marketing.
  • I mentor business professionals on how to transform from being a consumer to becoming a creator.
  • I mentor technology professionals who have built successful careers in the enterprise and are interested in entrepreneurship.
  • I help successful business professionals transform their careers to entrepreneurship.
  • I specialize in helping successful IT workers build a career in a non-IT field.
  • I believe in mentoring recently laid off business and IT professionals who are looking to re-invent their careers as entrepreneurs.

 

 

The key concept to understand here is that my future story will change almost weekly, as I develop myself and my skills. It will continue to evolve naturally. But the essential foundation will never change. At the heart of it, I believe in helping people. Regardless of how it manifests itself, the why never changes. Sure, the what I do may change over time, but the reason I do the things I do — remains constant.

The first story will help you make money now.

The second story will help you make money in the future.

Use the first story until it makes sense to transition to the second story.

Step #3 -Show undeniable proof that you’re the best at what you do.

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AKA “Social Proof”

When someone tells me that they are great at something like Instagram marketing, the first thing I do is look at their Instagram profile or their company’s Instagram. If they have less than 100 followers, then something is off. In this instance, they don’t have social proof and it’s an immediate turn-off.

The same applies to you. These days employers don’t want to know where you’ve worked or what your duties were.

They want to see your work.

  • If you’re a programmer they’ll ask you to show them what you’ve created.
  • If you’re an editor they’ll ask you to show them the before and after of an article you’ve edited.
  • If you’re a marketer they’ll ask you to show them a marketing plan you’ve created and the results it got.
  • If you’re a designer they’ll ask you to show them your portfolio.
  • If you’re an accountant they’ll ask you to show them what you did to help people save thousands of dollars on their tax returns every year.
  • If you’re a lawyer they’ll ask you to show them what laws are working against them and how you can better structure their company to avoid such things.

Show employers that you know what you’re talking about – that’s the bottom line of what potential employers are asking today. It also happens to be the core problem with resumes. They’re all about telling and not showing.

There are plenty of ways to show this information without having to share confidential information. You can do this by writing articles on LinkedIn & Medium. You can create your own videos and talk about your industry.

You just need to show it.

How do you get around showing your talent when you can’t share any of your work because of company confidentiality reasons?

Many times you won’t be able to show your work because it’s for a client or your company, and you can’t go around sharing presentations, designs or excel sheets with the whole world.

A few ways to get around this:

  1. Write about your experiences on LinkedIn or Medium and don’t mention any client names or the company you work for. Teach the world something new from your angle. You can then include these links in your email signature.
  2. Side Project. This is why it’s important to have a side hustle. A side project allows you to control the work you create and you have a little bit more control on how you show your work. You have something to show for.

Step #4 -Bypass the traditional hiring system by building direct relationships with executives.

This is how your job search should look:

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Don’t be afraid to build relationships with successful people. I cover this topic in detail in the Ultimate Guide to Networking chapter [GOES LIVE ON FEBRUARY 20TH]. It starts here.

If you want to learn more about how to bypass gatekeepers, watch the embedded video below or go to this Coffee with Robbie episode page with text transcriptions

Step #5 – Become better at what you do, even if you’re already the best.

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You’re reading advice from a guy who stalked his idol to get a coffee meeting.

When I know what I want, I get it.

When I don’t know what I want, I end up browsing aimlessly on my computer and waste my entire day. Don’t let this zap all your energy that can be used for planning your future. Don’t let your future story go to waste by not practicing telling it. All successful people started where you are now; the difference is they didn’t give up, and they refused to take ‘no’ for an answer.

Start by picking your cult leader.

This is like WACO without the Nike shoes and the shootout at the end.

Pick 2 people who you believe to be the absolute best at what they do. Follow their blog and follow them on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. I don’t want you to miss a thing they post. This also works offline as well if the cult leader does a lot of speaking events instead of writing online.

Listen to them. Interact with them. Learn from them.

Don’t know who to pick? Ask your friends. Post a question on an industry forum.  Post the question on Facebook or Twitter.

Cut out the rest of the noise. Focus on the best.

I am always looking for people to join my cult. Follow me on twitter for a good head start.

Still can’t think of anyone to follow?

This is how I used to spend my night right before I went to sleep:

browse internet…scroll…scroll…click on article…meh..back button..scroll..scroll..scroll..click on article…good article..retweet…back button…scroll…scroll…step away from computer…go to bed..open phone…open app..scroll..scroll..click..meh..back button.put down phone…fall asleep

I woke up every morning and I had no idea what I read or even what I retweeted the night before. I wasted at least 30 minutes every single night with pointless activity.

So I made a pact with myself. If I was going to waste 30 minutes every night, I was going to focus on absorbing content that was generated by people who I believe to be the absolute best in their field.

I dedicated every single night to reading content from these 4 people:

James Altucher (Entrepreneur, Author, Podcaster) – He is the only reason I write the way I do. He gave me the confidence to “bleed on the page.” I studied everything he did.

Mark Suster(Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist) – I learned entrepreneurship the right way from Mark. He writes with care, and essentially does formatted brain dumps for other entrepreneurs to learn from.

Noah Kagan(Entrepreneur, Ex Facebook / Mint) – When Noah speaks at events, he does the Questions & Answers BEFORE he begins speaking. He has taught me that success comes from following systems that work. His articles tell you step by step how to do things. I buy almost everything he creates.

Ramit Sethi(Author of I Will Teach You To Be Rich) – He has taught me that boring topics can be written in a humorous tone and still be very effective. The tone of my book, Fire Me I Beg You tone was stolen mainly from Ramit.

Learn from the best and mimic them.

Listen to these podcasts that not coincidentally contain 3 of the 4 people I am dedicated to following 🙂

  1. James Altucher and Noah Kagan (Episode 33)
  2. James Altucher and Ramit Sethi (Episode 36)

 

IN CONCLUSION

If you find yourself applying for jobs online without much success, then you need to read this article twice. It doesn’t work the way it used to and is also a short term approach.