Author: Olivier Roland
Date Read: March 2022
How Strongly I Recommend It: A must-read for any entrepreneur wanting to start an online business
Go To The Amazon Page for Details And Reviews
What I Thought
The Way Of The Intelligent Rebel is a great book for those who are interested in starting an online business. Good advice on applying 80/20 rules and marketing and sales.
Olivier Roland offers an inspiring road map to help readers get more out of life as an ‘Intelligent Rebel’ and find success and fulfillment by breaking out of the system.
Do you dream of a less stressful life? Join the Intelligent Rebels and discover how to achieve success in business AND create the freedom to live life to the full.
Perhaps you’re stuck in the commute-work-sleep cycle and want to get more out of life. Or you feel as though your life is missing something. Olivier Roland can help. He guides you on the pathway to identifying, embracing, and sharing your ultimate purpose – your ‘raison d’être’.
The Way of the Intelligent Rebel will encourage you to think outside the box, understand the limitations of conventional schooling, engage in life-long learning, throw yourself into a project dear to your heart and live a worthwhile and rewarding life while adding value to society. Based on personal experience, research into thousands of entrepreneurs, and over 400 scientific studies, Olivier will show you how to:
• Transform your life into an adventure and walk your own path in the world
• Have a career that serves your life, instead of your life constantly serving your career
• Understand why and how the modern education system is flawed and not designed with everyone in mind
• Turn your perceived ‘weaknesses’ into strengths and embrace your individuality
• Flourish, add value to the world, and enjoy every second!
This book will help you realize your full potential, embrace your creativity and shape your own journey to success. Find delight in your vibrant, enriching life right here, right now, and make the world a better place. What are you waiting for?
The Way of the Intelligent Rebel by Olivier Roland
As to methods, there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.’ Harrington Emerson
healthy skeptics are those who, when they encounter a new theory that challenges their received ideas, says: ‘That’s interesting, and the results are encouraging. But is it true? Let me think… What simple experiment
could I perform to test one of two of the method’s principles?’
what process do most people follow for making money? Being in salaried employment. But is there a better way of earning money than being
an employee? Definitely. Hundreds of better ways, thousands.
least effective way of earning money, for two main reasons: You are exchanging your time for money, with no leverage. In other words, you are trading the most precious thing you have in the world, your time – each moment which you don’t use to promote your happiness is irredeemably lost – for something that is soulless and cannot give you joy as such. Employees, then, are those who really put money on a pedestal since they are prepared to accept so disadvantageous an arrangement to earn it. For an enterprise to be profitable, it must always pay its employees less than they actually bring in. This is pure mathematics, and it means that, if you are an employee, you will never be paid according to your full potential.
‘value investing.’ This is a complex subject, but to simplify, it means buying shares that are being sold at below their intrinsic price, i.e., at below their true value.
I am writing only for geniuses like Buffett, but for anyone prepared to defy the status quo by using their intelligence to personally test the best methods in a given field and then apply those that work for them.
‘What methods regularly enable intelligent rebels who practice them to beat these results?’
all you need do is touch the shoulder or forearm of the person you are speaking to (at most for a second or two) to get the results described above.
Just to be clear: it is a light, respectful, friendly one-time touch, and socially as accepted as hugs are in the USA. And, yes, even if you are asking for money or proposing a date.
It is a straightforward technique that anyone can perform, requiring very little practice before it embeds in your daily behavior (I do it without even thinking). If a respectful touch of this kind is well accepted socially and makes people like you more and feel more comfortable around you, can you think of any good reason not to adopt this behavior, which very soon becomes completely natural?
If you have accepted the idea that in every field some methods are more effective than others, you will have understood that it could be advantageous to discover them. Once you have identified them, it is up to you to test them out with a healthy dose of skepticism (rather than concluding from the word go that such methods must be useless, or everyone would have adopted them…). Finally, when you have identified the strategies that work for you, you should apply them and enjoy the benefits.
darkness, enabling us to make wiser decisions into a broader frame of reference.
There are, of course, things we have learned at school that we use throughout our lives: reading, writing, the basic arithmetic of daily life, interacting, discussing, and so on. These skills are essential, and school makes an enormous social contribution by teaching us them. But on the whole, school has one great failing: it lacks practicality.
Being illiterate, then and now, makes you dependent on ‘those in the know.’ Those who will read on your behalf, write on your behalf, sign on your behalf.
Just as everyone needs to read, write, and do basic sums to cope with daily life, everyone now needs a basic knowledge of computing.
If you don’t engage in lifelong learning, you will end up like an illiterate among your smarter contemporaries. Your more learned friends will seem to belong to another world, speaking of fields of which you have
absolutely no understanding or do not even suspect the existence.
‘If there is one accomplishment anyone can achieve by their own efforts, it is a good spoken command of a foreign language. There is no excuse for not having this ability. […] Even idiots can manage it.’ DANIEL J
Learning a foreign language is like growing a new eye on your forehead, allowing you to see the world differently.
You will be able to think in the new language and think differently from the way you do in your own. Not only because each language has a different relationship with reality but also because, by immersing yourself in a different culture, you will have the fascinating experience of viewing your own culture with detachment.
The financial skills
students need to acquire are, in my opinion, the following: Being able to distinguish between an asset and a liability, an income item and an asset, and a debt and a liability Learning to immediately set aside 10 percent of salary and view only the remaining 90 percent as expendable (and understand why) Learning to gradually build up an emergency fund in case a problem arises, amounting to between three- and six-months’ salary, not to be touched for any other reason
Learning the basics of investment: Compound interest and how it works (money invested at an interest rate of 10 percent per annum, if the interest is re-invested, will double in a little over eight years, will quadruple after a further eight years, and will then take only seven years to increase by a factor of eight) Investing in real estate (and the traps to avoid) Investing in the stock market (and the traps to avoid)
Inflation, and why all investment is a race to beat it Learning the dangers of getting into debt
here lies the main problem affecting the education system: it was designed to train agricultural and industrial workers, people content with their lot and sufficiently educated to meet the economic demands of the period, and obedient soldiers to serve in the country’s wars.
What matters today, and will matter more and more as time goes by, isn’t a willingness to follow instructions, nor the ability to amass tons of knowledge, most of which will be forgotten and which, in any case, can be accessed in a couple of seconds via a telephone cable.
‘Teachers are no longer the fountain of knowledge; the Internet is.’ Don Tapscott, Canadian author and businessman
To be an efficient learner and boost your chances of success, you need to improve several ‘universal’ capacities: Your long-term memory: By learning to accurately memorize what you need or want to learn; you will be able to retain the information more easily and for a longer time.
Your working memory: This is the memory into which you ‘download’ the contents of your long-term memory to process them. Improving your working memory will also develop your intelligence, with which it is directly connected (see the studies referred to on p.40).
Your powers of concentration: By boosting your ability to concentrate on what you are doing and avoid distractions, you will improve your productivity and be happier because you will make the most of the present moment. Your willpower: By strengthening your willpower, you will be better able to resist temptations which might divert you from your goal (for instance, that delicious chocolate cake when you are on a diet, or that video game when you had decided to get some exercise). You will do what you promised yourself you would do, and that will give you an enormous advantage in achieving your goals.
Your motivation: By learning what really motivates you, and learning to feed the flame, you will be more motivated than most other people. This will give you more energy, enthusiasm, and creativity in everything you do, and above all, you will be happier.
Just as you can develop your strength and general stamina by doing physical exercise, thus improving your performance, it was possible, by training working memory, to become more efficient in all tasks reliant on it: calculating, reading, playing chess, thinking, and so on.
The logical objective for any intelligent rebel, therefore, must be to practice for half an hour a day for 20 or so days.
Using these apps will, therefore, increase your ability to stick at your various projects.
Simply walking 1½ miles a day halves the risk of contracting a brain-related disease such as Alzheimer’s in men over 71 years of age compared with those who walk only 440 yards a day.88
Many studies98 have shown that practicing a musical instrument increases IQ, powers of concentration, and the marks pupils get at school. But above all, learning a musical instrument is an enjoyable experience in its own right and can, eventually, become a useful and impressive skill.
The spaced repetition principle99 is as follows: the more often you are shown the thing you need to learn, the less quickly you forget it, and the more spaced-out the repetitions can become.
In short, an effectively gamified system can make the most boring subject far more entertaining, in fact, a lot of fun. Obviously, as with spaced repetition, schools are not about to apply these principles, so it’s up to intelligent rebels to roll up their sleeves and search out ingenious apps that will enable them to learn better and faster.
The 80/20 choice for Americans is clearly Spanish, given the number of Spanish-speakers in the USA and the importance of this language in the Americas. Not surprisingly, it is the language chosen by 88 percent of Americans wanting to learn a foreign language.
Six months in a foreign country hearing, speaking, and writing the language for about eight hours a day (probably an underestimate) adds up to 1,460 hours of study, in a range of situations totally different from the 10 years spent sitting on a chair.
after six months of immersion, you will have learned more than in 10 years of conventional school-based lessons. Did anyone ever tell you that at school?
Mosalingua applications are designed to optimize language learning. The principle is simple, based on two concepts we have already come across in this book:
Duolingo, an excellent supplement for beginners… but too easy Duolingo is completely free of charge, and you can use it to study more than 30 languages, including less common ones such as Esperanto, Hawaiian or Gaelic, and even invented languages like Klingon and High Valyrian.
The ideal way to develop your reading skills is to read books in the foreign language you’re learning.
Going on the ‘Media Diet’ is a way of avoiding this brainwashing, a way of feeding and developing your mind more selectively, rather than stuffing it with junk food. Going on the Media Diet means replacing this:
Stop reading all generalist information media: Daily newspapers, TV news bulletins, radio news shows, Google news, current affairs websites (Reuters, AFP…), Facebook, etc. These are the source of most of the depressing news that fills and occupies your mind before leaking away over the next few days.
Instead, select sources of information directly connected with your occupation and/or that will help you make progress in achieving your objectives: Specialized magazines, blogs, books, etc. Instead of radio news bulletins, listen to some interesting podcasts. Or music. Or listen to audiobooks. Or sing. Or just smile while
enjoying what you are doing. Instead of TV news programs, watch videos or TED talks, go and have some fun with friends or do some exercise. Or anything else that will bring some sunshine into your life and help you get where you really want to go.
If you are skeptical about going on this sort of diet, fine! Just be a healthy skeptic: Testing it out rather than sticking to your preconceived ideas and doing nothing. Here’s a challenge: Go on the Media Diet for just seven days. That should be easy enough. And see if the information you have been imbibing is really so essential. If it is not, try going without it for a whole month. If you can do without it for a month, continue for as long as you can. I bet you will be surprised how long you can ‘tolerate’ this media diet and the benefits you gain from it!
If you absolutely must stay connected with the world while filtering out 95 percent of the negative stuff, try this: Keep up to date with new scientific discoveries. These will enable you to stay in touch with what is going on and will be mostly positive. And they will give you a better idea of what the future has in store and the countless possibilities the world has to offer.
Dual N-Back is the only scientifically proven method for improving your IQ, and it also boosts your powers of concentration.
The story-telling and loci methods are very effective if you still need to learn things by heart – much better, once again, than the methods they teach in school.
A few minutes exercise and/or meditation and/or practicing a musical instrument each day can significantly improve your intellectual performance, creativity, memory, discipline, attention span and physical performance, and even your longevity.
Software apps that take the forgetting curve into account are much more effective than all the learning methods used at school,
particularly if they are gamified. Do use them. Afterward, you will find that you can no longer do without them when learning something.
Consider using your daily commute, and any other ‘dead’ time, to improve your foreign language skills. And use the other techniques mentioned in this chapter to perfect your command of a foreign language.
The media diet will help you healthily feed your mind rather than stuffing it with ‘junk food.’ It will save you time and give you more ‘available brain time’ for creative pursuits.
Finally, by focusing on what you really want and devising a project to obtain it, you will be lit up by the sacred flame and become unstoppable.
Scientific studies show that willpower is a better indicator of performance at university than IQ.
There are two systems in our brain constantly fighting to control our behavior: The instinctive fight-or-flight system, shaped by evolution to ensure our survival in an environment that has long since ceased to exist. A more reflective system giving us the strength to resist our instinctive urges, shaped by evolution to enable us to live in society.
up in the morning than in the evening, because by then the dozens, or hundreds, of impulses we have more or less successfully resisted during the day will have used up our reserves. Indeed, we spend 25 percent of our waking hours – the equivalent of four hours a day – resisting our desires.
take slow, deep breaths. That’s all. Inhale and exhale, with each breath lasting 10 to 15 seconds. It will help you relax and increase your self-control while reducing the strength of the urge you are feeling. It’s also an excellent technique for keeping your cool in stressful situations, such as making a speech.
Whenever you think of it – even if the chocolate ice-cream or video game threatens to tempt you – practice slow, deep breathing. You can use this simple technique in almost any situation.
The best-documented and most effective way of increasing your willpower is through meditation
Establish rituals to ensure that you perform routine daily tasks automatically. Consciously establish good habits that automatically move you toward your objectives.
A ritual is simply a habit that you regularly perform at a particular time of day. You might, for instance, have a morning ritual like this: Get up, meditate for five minutes, do your 7-minute workout, then have a shower.
What is a habit? An action we regularly perform, usually without thinking and without having to be motivated to do it. It is an action performed by default, mechanically, day after day, the effects of which gradually accumulate and can have an enormous influence on our lives, positive or negative.
Given that our reserves of willpower are limited and easily run down with use, it is important to create an environment as free of temptations as possible.
A good way of managing your reserves of willpower is to establish a productivity system.
Willpower enables us to resist temptations and focus more on the actions that help us achieve our objectives.
Research shows that willpower is a better indicator of success in life than IQ: the stronger your will, the greater the likelihood that you will be happy in relationships and live to a ripe old age.
The good news is that willpower is like a muscle and can be trained.
The bad news is that, again, like a muscle, if you use it too much, it gets tired, making you more likely to succumb to temptation.
Create a temptation-free environment to avoid using up your reserves of willpower.
On the other hand, introduce just ONE temptation into your environment – typically
your favorite chocolate bar – and make a game of resisting it to build up your willpower.
Set an hour aside and clearly define your objectives.
Find someone in a similar situation with whom you can engage in friendly competition.
Position one or more mirrors in the places where you work, so you can see your reflection when you are working.
Could you afford to engage a teacher or coach to help you in a particular area, so you can make faster progress and contract out your need for discipline?
Establish a minimalist working environment so that you are distracted as little as possible.
One essential is to get plenty of sleep: 95 percent of people need eight hours’ sleep a night to learn efficiently.
Revise things frequently. When you have attended a course or conference, read a book, or watched an educational video, spend half-a-minute noting down all the points you remember. This simple habit will have a significant impact on your ability to recall essentials.
When you learn something, moderate but regular practice is always better than intense sessions at irregular intervals.
If you have the opportunity, teaching is the best way of learning. And creating a blog is one of the best ways of regularly teaching while building up a community of fans, and maybe even a viable business.
Inspiring books transform your perspective on a given field, creating a burning desire to achieve your objectives within a totally new framework, and this often gives you the motivation to act – overflowing energy, free fuel you can use to power what you do – for a time.
practical matters, switch on your practical-action scanner. And note down the things you will do. Nothing else. Big ideas and actions that are not immediately applicable must be shown the door. Then, when you have finished reading the book,
reread your notes and choose something you will start putting into practice in the next 48 hours. Ideally, choose a simple 80/20 action that can be implemented quickly, and potentially do you a lot of good.
All good ‘practical’ books contain at least one brilliant 80/20 action that will bring excellent results for a minimum effort. So if you find and incorporate this action into your daily life and habits, you will get more out of the book than people who have used it simply to broaden their intellectual horizons.
When you start educating yourself, when you begin planning your business, initially, you will expend a lot of energy for minimal result, like me, with my surfboard. You may even make people laugh, or frighten them, or even be an object of pity. It’s all par for the course.
approach I recommend and have adopted is simply to minimize the risks involved. This means: Limiting your financial exposure as much as possible Thoroughly testing your initial hypothesis, committing a bare minimum of money, time, and energy
Starting your project on a part-time basis, alongside your existing job or your studies Or at least arranging for a negotiated departure, so you can receive unemployment benefits while pursuing your project Making the most of any financial assistance or subsidies you are entitled to
Here is the first basic rule: go and consult more experienced people who have achieved the objective you have set yourself. Quickly explain your situation and ask: ‘What would you do in my place? Try something else or persist in my present course?’
when you lose motivation because you are not getting results, try something else rather than giving up completely.
If you have reached a plateau, whereas previously you were making good progress and were quite satisfied with your mentor, maybe you can clear the blockage by doing some exploration elsewhere.
yourself the following questions for each activity: Why am I doing this? Is it really necessary? Is this one of the 20 percent of actions that achieve 80 percent of results?
What results has this brought me in the last two months? And since I began doing it? Is there an activity or action I could do that would achieve better results?
lucky people generate their own luck as a result of four basic principles: They are skilled in creating opportunities for themselves – and being aware of them. They take ‘lucky’ decisions by trusting their intuition.
They engender positive ‘self-fulfilling prophecies’ by having positive expectations about their future. They have a resilient attitude, which makes them see the good side of life by regularly imagining what would have happened in worse cases.
lucky people are those who are also able to discern their emotions because emotions often serve as an alarm bell, and this leads them to examine certain decisions more carefully.
Coming up with an idea based on your passions
Coming up with an idea in a field in which you have expertise
Coming up with an idea in an area of expertise that you are also passionate about (or vice-versa)
The future is already here. It’s just not evenly distributed yet.
Make a list of the things you are passionate about. Then make a list of your areas of expertise. See if some of the former match some of the latter.
Analyze the economic/financial potential of each of your interests and areas of expertise.
The ideal is to start your business in a field you are passionate about and already have some expertise. Financial potential is essential if you want to create a viable business.
A franchise can be a good way of getting started in business without having to start from scratch. But it isn’t a miracle solution, and there are also risks and disadvantages.
As a general rule, be attentive to your surroundings, putting your brain in ‘ideas search engine’ mode.
Take note of what works particularly well, as well as things that people complain about. Can
you be the person who offers a service or product that solves the problem concerned?
Going abroad is a great way of time traveling: some countries are ahead in certain fields, and you can harvest ideas to bring back home with you; others are behind the times, and you can bring new ideas that have become commonplace where you usually live.
‘Before your business makes its first sale, it is nothing more than a set of unproven ideas that you are spending money on.’ Michael Masterson, Ready, Fire, Aim
The Lean Startup concept is simple: you test the hypothesis on which your business is based as simply, as economically (in time, money, and energy), and as realistically as possible… rather than committing astronomical resources to an unproven idea. And if the result is negative, you change your initial hypothesis, taking the feedback from your experiment into account. Or you start again with a completely fresh hypothesis (known as ‘pivoting’ in Lean Startup terminology).
‘Will my product or service really be of interest to customers?’ In other words: ‘Is it really worthwhile investing so much time, energy, and money in this business?’ The idea is to deploy the product or service as quickly as possible and get real feedback, rather than spend years in an ivory tower creating something no one gives a damn about.
Lean Startup 101 And fortunately, that is precisely the approach of the Lean Startup strategy: Gather data Consider possibilities Define what you are offering
Create an initial version of the product/service (‘the minimum viable product‘), inevitably imperfect Make your first sale Attract your first customers (‘beta testers’) Use their feedback to improve your product Or change it completely (the famous ‘pivot’) Begin again
To sum up To manage the three risks facing any new business, the Lean Startup will: Define its idea and what it has to offer Conduct an on-the-ground survey Create a minimum viable product Measure Pivot Repeat
We shall be using several tools to obtain and measure feedback from our experiment. One of the most important is the A/B test. It consists of showing two variants of the same page or advert to a given audience and measuring which variant performs more effectively.
There are many tools, some free, some not, which will take care of all the tricky aspects of these tests. I would recommend in particular: Google Content Experiments: a free tool, part of Google Analytics, which is also free. Its location often changes, as the tool is evolving all the time.
Carry out a search via the Help function or via Google if you can’t find it in the interface. Visual Website Optimizer235: a simple ‘plug and play’ tool. You can install a plug-in on your WordPress blog, or copy-and-paste the code given on the page, then you can test absolutely anything you want with just a few clicks. You will have to pay for this tool. Optimizely236: an interesting alternative. Also available on a paying basis.
To learn to perform split tests, search for ‘split tests experiments,’ and you will come across some real gems.
Amazon gives you a sales ranking for all its products. A precious tool for finding out what is selling best in many sectors. How much time, energy, and money would you have had to spend to obtain the same information in the past? Amazon allows its customers to express an opinion – positive or negative – about its products. Customers’ negative comments are an excellent source of ideas and clues to what ideas will work.
Similarly, eBay is an excellent site for finding out what is selling and what is not, and for testing a product you have an idea for, as we shall see later.
The Google keyword tool. This free tool, designed for advertisers, is accessible to all and sundry. It tells you the number of monthly searches on Google for all the keywords you can possibly imagine, in every country where Google is active. Moreover, this tool will help you to find out: What exactly surfers are looking for in your field of interest. The level of competition among advertisers for specific keywords and how much they are prepared to pay for a hit: a very interesting indicator of your competitors’ profitability in this sector (generally speaking, the more they are prepared to pay per hit, the more profitable the products or services they are selling). The seasonality of a sector, product, or service.
Similarly, Google Trends enables you to find out what is in fashion and how trends are changing, and to compare trends one with another.
The Facebook advertising system can provide you with excellent demographic data free of charge. For example, would you like to know how many women aged 30–45 in Missouri love chihuahuas? Facebook will give you a reliable estimate in just a few seconds – and it’s free.
Discussion forums. Search for relevant forums by typing in ‘forum’ and the name of your sector, and possibly sub-domain names. For example, if you want to start a business in the field of skiing, you will type ‘forum skiing’ and, if you want to specialize, maybe ‘forum cross-country skiing’ or ‘forum snowboarding.’ Then explore these forums in search of different pieces of information:
Facebook discussion groups have the same advantages as forums; to find them, simply type the name of your sector into the Facebook search engine.
Magazines. There are specialized magazines in many fields and, by studying them, you will be able to glean a great deal of information on the burning issues in your market. Nowadays, you can access many magazines online without going out to the news-stand on Zinio and Magzter, for example. In particular, study the advertisements published in these magazines. Note which ones are published regularly.
All other forms of advertising. As in magazines, the fact that an advert persists for a certain time clearly indicates that it is effective and that the product it promotes is profitable. This will give you some important clues concerning trends in your market, and what will sell and what won’t.
A magic wand: The survey Online market research will enable you to define the chief features of your market. This is the point at which most businesses call a halt. For intelligent rebels, it is just the first stage. In particular, you will need sufficiently accurate data to: Identify the characteristics of your core customer: age, sex, occupation, etc. Determine his or her ability and desire to buy your product or service Determine the price he or she is willing to pay for it
To conduct your survey via the Internet, you need to: Have a list of email addresses of people potentially interested in your product or service
Draft a questionnaire using the online survey software Send them a link to this questionnaire in an email Analyze the answers
why email addresses? It’s simply a question of time spent, competition, and habit. Most people access their electronic mailbox more frequently than any other function on the Internet, morning, afternoon, and evening.
A customer magnet This is a tool you will use throughout the testing phase, first to compile a list of the qualified prospects to whom you are going to address your survey. A ‘customer magnet’ is simply a free resource you can give in exchange for your prospects’ email addresses.
Next, you need to create a squeeze page. This is a web page offering your resource free of charge in exchange for the email addresses of visitors.
You then need to attract people to this page. Useful tools for this are: Google AdWords and/or Facebook. You have to pay for the traffic, but $100 spent on Facebook will enable you to display your advert to 10,000 people or more. Not bad! What’s more, you can easily get coupons worth $50 or $75 that allow you to test AdWords.
Type ‘Google AdWords vouchers’ into a search engine to find them. An excellent way to build up a list of prospects quickly and free of charge. Comments on other blogs. Search for blogs devoted to the same topic as your resource and publish comments on them. However, be careful not to wade in with hobnail boots and make dozens of cryptic comments containing a
link to your squeeze page. This is the best way to get a reputation as an obnoxious spammer. Think, instead, of ‘adding value’ and ‘long-term relationships.’ Many blogs have a field in the comments form for ‘your website address,’ which is then linked to your name. If you post thoughtful comments, some of the blog’s readers will be intrigued and click on your link, thus landing on your squeeze page.
Once in possession of this data, you can formulate your business hypothesis. This is the stage at which you feed your idea through the ‘data-mill’ to develop a real business project. This exercise will enable you to create a dossier you can use to contact mentoring organizations if you need this sort of support.
STAGE 3: HOW TO LOOK INTO THE FUTURE AND TEST YOUR HYPOTHESIS The purpose of this stage is to check that your product or service is of sufficient interest to persuade your prospects to buy it.
IF YOU CAN’T LOOK INTO THE FUTURE, OFFER A PROTOTYPE OF YOUR PRODUCT, Unfortunately, it is not always possible to look into the future by crowdfunding or selling on a pre-order basis.
STAGE 4: CREATING THE PRODUCT Once you have secured your first customers using the ‘sale by pre-order’ method, you will obviously have to create your product as quickly as possible.
STAGE 5: IMPROVING YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE BY APPLYING THE FEEDBACK FROM YOUR FIRST CUSTOMERS Once you have created the first version of your product, carry out another survey, in this case, of your customers. Ask them questions such as: ‘In your opinion, what is the greatest improvement that could be made to [name of product]?’ and ‘Have you found anything absurd in the way that [name of product] works? If so, how should it work, in your opinion?’
STARTING PART-TIME The ideal way of testing your idea practically and as rapidly as possible, with costs and risks kept to a minimum, is, therefore, to start up your project on a part-time basis.
One of the most common strategic errors made by entrepreneurs immediately after founding their business is a tendency to neglect two fundamental activities: Finding prospects who are potentially interested in their products and services. Persuading them to buy these products and services.
The three most important things when you begin are, therefore, sales, sales, and sales.
SELLING MUST BE YOUR GREAT OBSESSION, EVEN IF YOUR INVESTMENT IS NIL If you start your business part-time and organize things to minimize your expenditure, which you can cover from your salary, or have no expenditure at all, it may be that you reach the profitability threshold from the very outset. In this case, your objective should be to get your business off the ground as quickly as possible, so you should still spend 80 percent of your time focused on sales.
SUMMARY For the intelligent rebel who has decided to act Imagine creating your business as a scientific experiment: you must prove, to yourself and to the world, that your business model is viable and with minimum expenditure of money, time, and energy. Carry out a market study on the Internet to reduce uncertainties and gather information that will be valuable subsequently.
Use the information to create your ‘customer magnet’ and build up a list of qualified prospects interested in your offering. Define your business by giving it a name and describing its unique selling point (slogan), if possible, focusing on its benefits. Possibly by conducting a survey and several A/B tests to decide which are most powerful. Create one or more avatars representative of your customers. It is this/these avatar(s) you
will be targeting when you communicate with your prospective customers. At this stage, you will be able to test out your product and discover its real sales potential… by selling it before it has been produced. There are many tools you can use for this purpose. The webinar is one of the most effective. Choose one of the tools presented in this chapter and use it. If your sales are satisfactory, go ahead with the product or service, taking into account feedback from your first users so you can gradually improve it.
Or pivot and offer a different version using another approach. If it is not possible to sell your product on a pre-order basis, create a simple prototype that meets your customers’ basic needs, and sell it. If you are in employment, take time to analyze your timetable and identify activities you can cut down on. Above all, take time to think about the WHY of your business and your product. And make that your starting point. It will make an enormous difference where successful communication is concerned and your ability to attract fans, not just customers.
Have a plan B so that you still have a source of income if you fail.
Fund your project adequately
Keep your personal and business assets separate: choose the right legal vehicle
Protect your main place of residence
Until you reach the break-even point, don’t pay yourself a salary. Begin by working part-time following the Lean Startup principles.
Minimize pointless expenditure
The purpose of any marketing campaign is to capture your prospects’ attention and, ultimately, motivate them to buy your product. Here are the five key stages to moving your prospects from attention to action: Attention Understanding and memorization Conviction Involvement Readiness to act
To sell something, we must appeal to both the reasoning faculties and the emotions of our prospects.
your prospects will be more strongly motivated to buy your product or service if you come across as pleasant and friendly rather than disagreeable or indifferent.
human beings are also influenced by their intelligence. We address their intelligence by offering them a product that precisely meets their needs, as identified in surveys, and by making them an ‘Irresistible Offer,
In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, researcher and psychologist Robert Cialdini reports on an instructive experiment showing that being able to give a reason for what you are doing is surprisingly influential.
Influence factor 2: Reciprocity Reciprocity is simply the need we feel, when given something, to give something back in return.
Influence factor 3: Consistency and commitment We have an almost obsessive desire to appear consistent, as in most cases, consistency is regarded as a strength. By the same token, inconsistency is generally frowned upon: anyone who constantly changes their mind may be seen as capricious or unreliable.
Influence factor 4: Social proof is the fact that we feel better doing something when others are doing it with us. And if enough people are doing something, it can trigger in us the desire to do it too.
Influence factor 5: Authority We are far more likely to obey people we see as having authority: doctors, judges, policemen, politicians, and so on.
Influence factor 6: Friendliness I already mentioned this factor at the start of the chapter: people prefer to buy from pleasant and friendly salespeople.
Influence factor 7: Rarity value
Something rare is desirable. So always highlight the rarity of your products.
Influence factor 8: Simplicity
make sure your message is simple and crystal clear. The simpler it is, the greater its power to persuade.
Influence factor 9: The unexpected
You need to identify the message you wish to communicate, work out what aspects are counterintuitive, and express it in such a way as to foil your prospects’ ‘guessing mechanisms,’ thus taking them by surprise.
Influence factor 10: The concrete ‘Concrete’ also means ‘specific.’
When you have a figure to communicate, be precise. This boosts your credibility.
Influence factor 11: Credibility Credibility is very similar to authority in that it, too, depends on perceived expertise. The main difference is that authority makes prospects more likely to listen when you communicate with them, whereas credibility has to do with your prospects believing what you communicate.
Influence factor 12: Emotion If you can manage to arouse strong feelings in your prospects, they will be more taken by your message and more likely to act.
Influence factor 13: Storytelling As human beings, we are very sensitive to storytelling. The same message communicated in the style of an ‘official report’ will be far less compelling than if it were expressed in the form of a story.
THE IRRESISTIBLE OFFER
To sell on the web using content, you need to construct three solid pillars to base your success: Traffic Authority Relationships of trust
First pillar: Traffic This is undoubtedly the most important of the three. Traffic is like the ratings for a TV program, an indicator of your success in the Internet context and of the likelihood of your making money.
Principle 1: Create and promote the best possible content
Principle 2: Don’t remain in splendid isolation Make contact with other players, both in and outside your field. Enter into partnerships, support one another.
Second pillar: Authority Your authority is a mixture of your real and perceived expertise.
Intrinsic expertise: Your real skills and competencies (or those of your business) in a particular field. Obviously, these develop over time.
Perceived expertise: What your audience, prospects, and customers perceive to be the case. This tends to be the weak point of many experts. They are incredibly good technically but poor at selling themselves, so their audience sees them as less competent than they really are.
Post your results In your blog, publish details of your results, even if you experience difficulties in the early days.
Use social proof Make a point of showing that you have followers. Post the numbers for your Facebook fans, followers
on Instagram, and YouTube channel subscribers once they total more than 50. This shows that what you have to say interests many people, and your followers are in good company. It generates social proof, which, as explained earlier, is a decisive influence factor because we feel comfortable when others are doing the same as us.
Interview or show yourself with experts or star performers in your market An excellent way of generating authority is to interview acknowledged experts. Not only will you develop your intrinsic expertise by learning from such people in the course of the relationship and subsequent discussions, but you will also increase your perceived expertise by being associated in the minds of your audience with the expertise of your interviewees.
Third pillar: Relationship of trust
Show who you are Don’t hide behind a pseudonym; use your first and family names. Your readers want to engage with a human being, not a screen, and with a blog, nothing is more humanizing than a photograph of the author. So publish a smiling picture of yourself on your home page, on your ‘about’ page, and, if possible, every page on your website.
Tell who you are Write an ‘about’ page that describes you and summarizes your life and career, why you started your blog, and, if possible, your BIG WHY.
Adopt a friendly tone of voice Usually, this comes naturally but, if you find it difficult, try writing your articles in a
conversational tone. Also, use humor, as this creates a more human relationship with readers.
Produce some podcasts Despite all your efforts to convey your personality and style in your writing, the written word is, by definition, rather cold and impersonal. In contrast, the spoken voice transmits a range of emotions via the subtlety of intonation and the energy you put into it.
Interact with your readers and get to know them The great advantage of the Internet is that it allows for close interaction in real-time with people worldwide. Respond to comments and emails, carry out surveys to find out more about your readers, aspirations, and problems.
Finally the royal road for creating a relationship of trust is to use videos In a video, you are communicating via all the usual channels (except maybe smell!), and this is amazingly effective in generating a relationship of
Conclusions are a great classic of sales strategy. The best-known include: Assumed conclusion: Assuming that the sale has already been made, by saying, for example: ‘Where would you like it delivered?’ before the customer has even agreed to purchase. Alternative conclusion: Asking, for example, ‘Would you prefer to have it delivered on Tuesday or on Thursday?’ Again before the customer has agreed to purchase. The now-or-never conclusion: ‘If you can’t decide now, I shall offer it to another customer who will be only too pleased to buy.’
The SPIN model, then, can be summed up as follows: The salesman asks situation-related questions to establish the context. This leads to problem-related questions, getting the customer to reveal his/her implicit needs. The implicit needs are developed using implication-related questions, getting the
potential buyer to experience the problem more clearly and pertinently. This leads to questions about the needs to be met, enabling the buyer to speak about his/her explicit needs. The salesman can then say how the product would benefit the buyer, which is strongly linked to sales success.
First: Make your prospect aware of their problem This question is simple and breaks down into two parts. Firstly, ask: ‘What is the biggest obstacle to you achieving your objective today?’ Then: ‘And where will you be in six months, or a year, if you can’t overcome this obstacle? How will you feel about it?’
Next: Help your prospect to visualize the solution Then ask simply: ‘And if you manage to overcome this obstacle and achieve your objective, how will you feel then? And what will you do?’
Up-selling and cross-selling, two ways of increasing your customers’ average shopping cart
RECOVERING CART ABANDONMENTS
EXTENDING YOUR CLIENTELE THROUGH PARTNERSHIPS
Outsourcing is vital for your success, as well as your work-life balance and wellbeing.
Working in your business means having to solve recurring problems. You are constantly firefighting.
Working on your business means ensuring that a problem you have dealt with once isn’t repeated or, if it happens again, can be dealt with even in your absence. You put out the fire and document how you dealt with it by writing a procedure that can be easily consulted. But, above all: You think about the cause of the fire. You amend existing procedures to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
enterprise as a set of processes, systems, and gears. By this, I don’t mean that they should have a mechanical vision of things and see their employees as robots – far from it. But they will see everything that works and doesn’t work in their business as processes that can be improved and, above all, as operations that don’t need to be designed specifically for them. It will be possible to delegate and outsource everything that ensures the business can offer products and services, market them, and turn a profit.
Writing procedures may seem a long and painstaking business, and generally, it is. But it is definitely worthwhile.
Procedures must always add value for your customers, your employees, and your suppliers. They should consist of concrete, directly applicable expertise.
Procedures must be comprehensible even for people with only a minimum of competence in the field concerned. In the case of the mechanic, for instance, you will ask them to describe the procedure clearly and simply, so it can be understood and followed by a new mechanic just out of school… but not so your chief accountant can repair the engine!
All procedures must be gathered together and centralized in a single Procedures Manual. If someone needs to consult a procedure, they won’t have to spend hours hunting for it. You can, of course, do all this digitally by setting up a Wiki, a blog, or a website. I would recommend a Sync file,290 enabling you to share and synchronize files and folders among an unlimited number of devices. This is the simplest app for a beginner.
The aim of every procedure is to produce predictable, standardized customer service.
delegate the majority of: Repetitive tasks that take a lot of time Tasks you are not very good at Tasks which don’t earn you anything in the short term Tasks you really hate
Why outsourcing to low-cost countries is ethical 1 It creates jobs in countries that need employment opportunities
2 It creates wealth in your own country
3 Outsourcing to these countries is the very opposite of exploitation
The simplest way is to register with Fiverr294 or its European equivalent People per Hour.295
Taking things further: ‘Grown-up’ outsourcing sites
Effective 80/20 tools for optimizing your business To decide on a course of action and increase your conversion rate, it is very important to measure each stage accurately. You can do this manually, of course, and I would encourage you to do so if you run an offline business. However, the beauty of an entirely online business is that many of the calculations can be automated.
Shrewd entrepreneurs know that a small improvement at each stage of their business sales funnel results in phenomenal growth overall. And that a daily improvement of 1 percent results in a doubling of performance after 70 days.
To continually improve your business performance, use the various tools presented in this chapter to carry out A/B tests, and measure the results.
In 20 years, with progress accelerating, all the electronic devices you are currently using will seem even more obsolete than those you were using twenty years ago. What’s more, services as revolutionary as the Internet was in its time will have made their appearance.