Year: 2019

HEALTH & FITNESS

 

The No Bullshit Guide to Living Your Best Life

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Bad news. There’s no magic diet, perfect workout, or new gadgetry in these pages. Shocking for a post about New Year’s resolutions, we know. But our guide to having a better year is void of gimmicks.

The Best Diets to Lose Weight, Ranked
What you’ll find: more than 25 simple, expert-backed methods you can start now to get you healthier in body and mind this year. Fair warning: Simple does not mean easy.

Get Strong
Illustrations by Todd Detwiler for Men’s Journal
1. Get Strong
It’s not that you need to haul a mattress up a flight of stairs, but it’s nice to know you can. Even nicer is having the muscle and cardiovascular power to do it in your 50s or 60s. Functional movements—lifting, pushing, carrying heavy objects—are a measure of true strength, achievable by doing tried-and-true movements consistently. Mattress aside, building muscle is key to long-term health, protecting almost every system in your body. It’s also a powerful tool for the mind. Strength training seems to help people suffering from depression, anxiety, and other mental issues, suggests a paper from the University of Georgia. Here’s your guide to getting strong, designed by Adam Rosante, a trainer in New York City and author of The 30-Second Body.

How it works: Follow a 3-2-1 breakdown
Resistance train three days a week, do high-intensity interval training twice a week, and do low-intensity steady state training once a week. Rosante recommends sticking to this breakdown for four weeks, then reassessing and adjusting accordingly. Play the long game and tinker with your workout schedule until it fits into your life. That means you don’t need to work out six days a week; instead, double up and do 30 minutes of resistance followed by a 20-minute HIIT treadmill workout or a 30- to 45-minute low-intensity brisk walk to check off two separate workouts.

3 Days a Week: Resistance Training
There are eight basic movement patterns: squat, hinge, lunge, push, pull, rotational, anti-rotational, and carry. Each workout, choose 4 or 5 moves from the following list. Swap movements as desired, like subbing in pullups for inverted rows, or goblet squats for front squats. Perform 3–4 sets of 8–10 reps using a weight that allows you to complete all the reps but no more. Hit all of the patterns at least once a week.

The first round of moves are:

Front Squat
Deadlift
Reverse Lunge
Pushup
Inverted Row
Wood Chopper
Pallof Press
Heavy Suitcase Carry
The Plan
Jot down a plan that’ll carry you through the next 3–4 weeks. Include which moves you’ll do on each of three days, and sketch out weights, sets, and reps. Log workouts as you go to track progress. It’ll take about 2 or 3 weeks to feel stronger.

After 3–4 weeks, switch things up. Create a new workout based on the fundamental movement patterns. Try new weights, like switching dumbbells for kettlebells, or trying out sandbags and ViPRs. Do that for 3 or 4 more weeks. You can keep this up all year.

7 High-octane HIIT Workouts That Burn 500 Calories
2 Days a Week: High-Intensity Work
Examples: Airdyne Bike, Hill Repeats, Lap Swimming

HIIT workouts rev your heart rate to 80–95 percent of your max. If you don’t have a heart-rate monitor, your effort level should feel like an 8 out of 10. Go hard 10–15 seconds, then back off to a lower intensity for 20 seconds to a minute. Continue alternating for up to 20 minutes.

How to Stick to Your Resolutions and Achieve Your Goals in 2020
1 Day a Week Low-Intensity Work
Examples: Casual Bike Ride, Leisurely Hike, Restorative Yoga

Move, but take it easy. Your max effort should be a 3–6 out of 10. It’s a good opportunity to do something low-key with your family.

Prioritize Sleep
Illustrations by Todd Detwiler for Men’s Journal
2. Prioritize Sleep
Just like better workout gear, bedroom gear can help to optimize sleep, says Terry Cralle, a registered nurse with the Better Sleep Council. Here’s where to start:

Replace Your Pillows: Do this every two years. Pillows get smushed over time, and they carry microbes and dust, which can bother people with allergies or respiratory sensitivities.

Get a White Noise Machine: Even if you don’t totally wake up, noise at night can fragment your sleep, which is why you can technically get enough shut-eye but still wake up tired.

Go Dark: “It’s so important to have a completely dark sleeping environment and prevent light leakage from disturbing your sleep,” Cralle says. That means turning your digital alarm clock to face the wall, turning off hallway lights so nothing comes beneath the bedroom door, and installing blackout curtains.

This Diet Could Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease by 32 Percent
Aim for 7.5 Hours: That’s the approximate amount of hours of sleep a person needs per night, according to a consensus of sleep experts. If you’re not a great sleeper, doctors often recommend trying natural sleep remedies before seeking a prescription. Try sipping tart cherry juice, which contains naturally occurring melatonin—a sleep hormone. Look for a kind that doesn’t have added sugar. We like Cherrish, a blend of Montmorency (tart) and Bing (sweet) cherries—96 per bottle. Drink some two hours before bed.

Get Off Your Ass
Illustrations by Todd Detwiler for Men’s Journal
3. Get Off Your Ass
American adults spend more than three-fourths of their waking hours in sedentary activities like sitting, according to a study of nearly 8,000 people. Too much sedentary time is a huge health hazard, linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and premature death. Assuming you can’t quit your desk job, try to vary your postures and move more. For a start, we recommend an adjustable standing desk. They can be pricey, so check if your company has a corporate wellness program to foot the bill. If not, the brand Fully has a simple standing desk converter for $149. To keep your day active, alternate 8 minutes standing with 20 sitting and 2 minutes of movement like walking or gentle stretching, says Margaret Hanson, an ergonomist at the U.K. consulting firm WorksOut.

Take a Tech Break
Illustrations by Todd Detwiler for Men’s Journal
4. Take a Tech Break
This is the year you stop allowing devices to run your life. Tech can hurt sleep, productivity, relationships, and mental well-being. There’s even more reason to do it if you have a family. Get in the habit of cordoning off your smartphones. Do a 20-minute email check-in right after dinner, minimize weekend screen time, and put phones on Do Not Disturb when you’re out doing activities—callers who ring twice will get put through, so you won’t miss emergencies. If you’re unsure whether you’re an addict, see what it’s like to go without tech. Leave your phone at home when you go for a run, or pop out for groceries. How uncomfortable you are untethered gives you an idea of your dependency. We’re not suggesting you give it up entirely. Emails need replies; Google Maps is a lifeline. But it’s healthy to take time off. Consider a digital-detox vacation—go somewhere with spotty or no service to reconnect with nature.

Eat a Legit Breakfast
Illustrations by Todd Detwiler for Men’s Journal
5. Eat a Legit Breakfast
Yes, the Starbucks Spinach, Feta & Cage Free Egg White Wrap is great in a pinch, but fast and hassle-free meals at home are totally doable. There are a few criteria to a good breakfast, according to Willow Jarosh, a registered dietitian in New York City. It should be robust enough to carry you through workouts or the first part of your day, and contain a good balance of macronutrients as well as healthy produce—vegetables, if possible. Here are three of her top picks.

Overnight Oats
The concept is simple. In a mason jar or other sealed container, combine rolled oats, milk or yogurt (which softens the oats), some add-ins like nuts, dried or fresh fruit, plus spices or vanilla extract. Seal and refrigerate. The next morning, stir and eat. Or portion out several on Sunday to have through the week. Here’s our go-to combo:

Cherry-Pistachio Overnight Oats

1⁄2 cup 2 percent milk
1⁄2 cup plain lowfat yogurt
1⁄2 cup rolled oats
1⁄2 cup frozen cherries, thawed
1⁄4 cup unsalted pistachios
Season with orange zest, ground cinnamon, and ground ginger to taste
Breakfast Fried Rice
If you’re already in the habit of cooking a second portion of dinner to eat for lunch, do the same for breakfast. Make an extra cup of grains—such as quinoa or brown rice—plus a big helping of vegetables. In the morning, crack two eggs in an olive oil–coated pan, and scramble with the leftover grains and veg. Top with sliced avocado and sriracha. Make it to-go and roll in a tortilla for a breakfast burrito.

Low-Sugar Smoothies
Don’t balk when you read this recipe and see cauliflower. It’s delicious in smoothies, adding a thickness akin to ice cream (seriously). And it’s packed with vitamins and fiber for satiety. To cut down on time in the a.m., at night toss everything except the banana and cauliflower in the pitcher of a blender and refrigerate. Then in the morning, add produce, blitz, and enjoy.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

3 ounces firm tofu (about 1⁄2 cup cubed)
1 cup 2 percent milk
1 large ripe banana
1 tbsp raisins
1⁄2 cup pumpkin puree
1⁄2 cup frozen cauliflower (don’t thaw)
2 tbsp almond butter
Season with pumpkin pie spice, turmeric, and pepper
Talk About Your Feelings
Illustrations by Todd Detwiler for Men’s Journal
6. Talk About Your Feelings
If you haven’t heard the news, it’s good to talk to someone about what’s going on. Even better if you can start a dialogue when things are stable and going well. “It’s about building a connection to a professional who knows your story before things get tough, so they can actually help you in that moment,” says Kelli Harding, M.D., a psychiatrist in New York City and author of The Rabbit Effect. But finding an hour a few times a month can be a separate challenge. If that is what’s standing in your way, try telemedicine services, which facilitate video chats with licensed therapists. (We like Talkspace.) Check with your insurance—many have telemedicine options, so you avoid the rigmarole of insurance approvals and co-pays. While these services are convenient, they’re not a total replacement for in-person interactions, Harding adds. And be a little patient with the process. You may need to shop around for a person you’re comfortable with, which is the key to a successful, sustained relationship.

Embrace Gratitude
Illustrations by Todd Detwiler for Men’s Journal
7. Embrace Gratitude
Saying “thank you” isn’t just a social norm. It’s physically good for you. “Kindness and gratitude impact health on a physiological level,” says Harding. “Studies show practicing gratitude lowers blood pressure, boosts immune system and energy levels, and helps you sleep better. The vast majority of our health is actually being determined by positive connections to other people.” Maybe practicing gratitude sounds touchy-feely, but it’s simply expressing thanks—to a coworker who had your back in a meeting, to your kids for cleaning up their rooms, or to a friend who picked up the bar tab. If you’re not up for a public airing of gratitude, try this: Before you go to bed, jot down three things you’re thankful for in a notebook or on your phone, and reflect on it for a few minutes. Research suggests it may actually help you sleep better.

Touch Your Toes
Illustrations by Todd Detwiler for Men’s Journal
8. Touch Your Toes
Mobility is the foundation of all physical activity, but it’s the first thing people neglect when they’re short on time. To move well, you need healthy muscles and ligaments, as well as good range of motion within the body’s key joints, says Austin Martinez, director of education for StretchLab in Southern California.

But how mobile are you, anyway? Touching your toes is a good rough guideline. “It’s a way to measure progress towards increasing mobility over time,” Martinez says. “How hard it is to actually reach your toes varies person to person, but the more frequently and consistently you’re stretching toward this goal, the easier it will be.”

Improved flexibility, mobility, and range of motion have been shown to decrease the risk of injury, especially key if you’re an active person (think runner, skier, hiker). Get a baseline measure: Fold forward, keeping back straight, and see how close to your toes your fingers get. Then do this three-move routine once a day. Test your toe-touch progress once a week.

Ten-Minute Mobility Routine
1. Seated Straddle
What it works: hamstrings and lower back
How to do it: Sit on floor, legs locked out in a V position, toes pointed up. Reach forward with both hands, allowing a slight bend in lower back while engaging core. Hold for 30 seconds, then back off. Repeat twice.

2. Pigeon Pose
What it works: piriformis (a muscle at top of hip joint), glutes
How to do it: Kneel and place hands on floor in front of knees. Slide left leg behind you so knee and shin are flat on floor. Bend right leg, with knee pointed at a 45 degree angle, right heel under left hip. Walk hands out in front of body, resting chest over right knee. Hold for 30 seconds, release, then switch sides. Repeat twice.

3. Hip Flexor Stretch
What it works: hip flexors
How to do it: Kneel, then lift right leg and place foot on ground. Keeping back straight, squeeze left glute, shifting torso slightly forward, without chest tipping over. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides. Repeat twice.

Finish What You Start
Illustrations by Todd Detwiler for Men’s Journal
9. Finish What You Start
The main selling point of multitasking is that it’s efficient. But we’ve been sold a bill of goods. “Your brain can’t focus on multiple attention-requiring tasks at the same time,” explains Dave Crenshaw, author of The Myth of Multitasking. “Every time you do that, you’re actually switching back and forth between tasks.” And toggling can cost as much as 40 percent of someone’s productive time, according to research cited by the American Psychological Association. Tasks take longer, there’s more room for mistakes, and stress levels rise, Crenshaw says. These breakdowns can have a negative effect on your working relationships with colleagues, too. Stop using to-do lists. Instead, make scheduled commitments to complete tasks on your calendar. Leave plenty of unscheduled buffer time so that when interruptions occur—and they will occur—there is time to deal with them but still stay on schedule.

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MIND

A 15-Minute Mind-Hack To Massively Enhance Your Brain Power And Emotional State

As a former computer engineer, Vishen Lakhiani has hacked meditation and turned it into a 15-minute productivity and wellbeing booster. He explains the science behind and shares his personal story in this video.

“The #1 Most Effective Life-Hack I Use In My Life”


In this talk filmed at Wisdom 2.0 Conference, Vishen Lakhiani, the founder of Mindvalley and author of The Code of the Extraordinary Mind introduces a meditation ritual he designed called The 6-Phase Meditation.

It’s unusual.

It’s not about clearing your mind or just relaxing. Rather, Vishen turned meditation as we know it into a supercharger for the soul and mind by drilling it down into 6 unique elements backed by science.

One could say this is 6 different types of meditation rolled into one. But watch the video and let Vishen explain it in his style of humor and intellect.

You see, not every meditation style focuses on clearing your mind — you can use meditation to learn how to engage your mind instead.

In this video Vishen shares:

  • (0:19) — His personal story about meditation, and how it improved his mental, emotional and financial life while working in a dead-end job in Silicon Valley;
  • (3:04) — How to satisfy the 6 human needs with a simple and short mind-hack;
  • (6:20) — Amazing scientific research that shows how meditation transforms your life;
  • (22:06) — How to maximize success with this guided 6 Phase Meditation.

Watch this video and learn how to transform your life, influence the outcome of your day and future, and shift your level of happiness each and every day.

It’s simply magical how meditation can transform someone’s life. Take this free one-week course and learn how to meditate in 15 minutes a day with the Mindvalley Quest app.

6 Phase Meditation Banner


Which of these 6 human needs do you resonate with the most? Share it with us in a comment below.

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Roy Baumeister and John Tierney’s new book ‘The Power of Bad’ is all about the negativity bias, how it affects you, and how you can avoid it.

 
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ILLUSTRATION BY NEIL WEBB

Humans are hardwired for negativity. We dwell on the bad. We assume the worst. We’re way more likely to remember that one time our boss told us we were sloppy than the ten times she told us we were great. And as much as we try to look on the bright side of half-empty (-full!) glasses, we’re just not built that way. The human brain developed millennia ago, when danger roamed the savanna, ready to ambush and kill us at any moment, and that led to what Roy Baumeister, Ph.D., a professor of social psychology at Florida State University, has dubbed the “negativity bias” that still governs how we think.

The only trouble is that for all the times it might keep us alive, negativity bias also has a way of causing us a ton of unnecessary stress. “The negativity bias gives us a warped view of the world,” says John Tierney, who worked with Baumeister to coauthor the upcoming book The Power of Bad. We focus only on what’s going wrong (in the present) and assume that it will keep going wrong (in the future). We despair, lose hope, and conclude that things won’t change. As if that weren’t already bad enough, Twitter, Instagram, and other feeds hit us with crisis after crisis. But there’s some hope: Through their research, Baumeister and Tierney have found real solutions that can help us fight our instincts and keep us out of a daily emotional funnel cloud.

The Power of Bad: How the Negativity Effect Rules Us and How We Can Rule It
The Power of Bad: How the Negativity Effect Rules Us and How We Can Rule It
amazon.com

$14.99

1. Unleash the Power of the Rule of Four

Five to one. That’s the famous Gottman Ratio, a predictive formula showing that couples tend to stay together when they have five times as many positive experiences as negative ones. Baumeister thinks of it as a positivity ratio, and when it comes to your kids, your spouse, your underlings and bosses, he recommends aiming for a more attainable ratio of about four to one. For every negative comment you feel compelled to make, make four positive ones. Baumeister even believes that this four-to-one ratio applies to other aspects of your life. For instance, if you’re having sex with your partner four times for every one argument (sex because of arguments probably doesn’t count), then your relationship is likely positive.

2. Remember the Honeymoon

Nostalgia used to be a dirty word. People prone to indulging in nostalgia were thought to be depressed or living in the past, says Tierney. But recent research has shown something else entirely. Far from keeping you down, nostalgia—yearning for past positive events or relationships—can actually pick you up. In one study, people who were prompted to think of an experience that made them “long for the past” before work reported feeling more motivated and therefore worked harder than those who were
asked to think of an ordinary life event.

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Another study even showed that people experiencing nostalgia judged a room to be warmer than those remembering an everyday event. Your move: Spend a
moment before your workday begins to relive a special memory. Then extend the good vibes by writing down four keywords that best describe that memory.

3. Play the (Glad) Game

You may not like tooting your own horn, but a proven way to combat negativity is to heighten positive experiences, and highlighting the positives gives them extra power. “When something good happens, sharing that good news with people you care about makes it more important, gives it a bigger impact, and it helps you develop a bond with the person you’re sharing with,” explains Tierney. Pay attention to and celebrate other people’s victories, too. If they share good news with you, really hear it. A “That’s great!” /“Amazing!”/“Tell me about it!” ratchets up positivity. Even better if you put down your phone for the story and your response. On the flip side, you can also draw strength from negative experiences. Baumeister points to Shelley Taylor’s research on breast cancer patients. “The surprising thing was that most of them ended up talking about it as a positive experience,” he says. They saw it as an opportunity to make positive changes: to appreciate life, to focus on the present, to manage stress. One way to reframe is to think about what you can learn from a negative experience, not how it holds you back.

Illustration of DIY helmet with light bulbs
PENNAPAZZA

4. Check Yourself

“Why do you think you’re a good relationship partner?” That’s what Baumeister asks in his senior psych class at FSU. Many of his students list what they do well, saying that maybe being a good listener or a good sexual partner gives them an edge. It’s good to be good. “But what makes more impact,” says Baumeister, “is not doing the bad things.” Because bad always outweighs good, what you do is less important than what you don’t do. Sometimes that means holding your tongue, he adds, and putting a lid on the judging or curtness for minor infractions.

5. Focus on the Present

For the majority of us, our greatest negativity is behind us—in our tendency to dwell on past mistakes and regrets, according to Baumeister’s current research. The future also carries negativity: stress about outcomes and potential failures. The present, however, is something of a golden mean, a place away from all that. “The mindfulness people are right,” Baumeister says. “Keep your attention focused on the here and now.” Catch yourself regretting the past? Bring yourself back to now. Worrying about tomorrow/next month/dinner tonight? Bring yourself back to now. If that’s too hard, just write down one thing you’re grateful for every day. That pushes away the negative and lets the positive flow in.

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The 2019 Men’s Health Sleep Awards

Here’s all the best stuff to help you sleep more soundly and wake up feeling more refreshed—wherever it is you happen to be dozing off tonight.

 

At Men’s Health, we tend to focus on conscious pursuits. Burpees? You need to be awake for those. Same with making a fiber- and protein-rich meal at home. Or going to a therapist. What we don’t spend so much time on is the unconscious state we fade into every single night and for hours at a time—even though it supports all of our daily pursuits.

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But we’re spending more time investigating sleep than in years past, and so are doctors and retailers. That’s because so many of us aren’t fading into sleep—and the sleep we’re getting isn’t lasting for the hours it should and it’s not as restorative as it needs to be. We’re battling our way through the process, and we’re buying loads of products to help win the fight.

We’ve compiled a list of the best of the hundreds of these products—for your bedroom or wherever you’re crashing for the night. Not just the sleep masks and white noise, but the metronomes and the watches and the temperature-controlled duvets and the under-mattress sleep-monitors. (Sleep trick: If you repeat “temperature-controlled duvet” over and over again, you’ll fall asleep in no time.)

So, good night, buy right, and don’t let the… idea of an under-mattress sleep monitor freak you out because it’s more awesome than it sounds.

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You know how important your mattress and pillows are for proper sleep. But we’d bet you forgot how important a nice pair of sheets is. Since sheets and pillowcases are definitely making direct contact with your skin, they could definitely affect how you sleep—or, Heaven forbid, give you outbreaks. Well, your solution is here: We broke down the best bedding you can buy, depending on your sleep style.

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Finnicky about your choice of pillow? You should be. The right pillow could mean the difference for you between a sleepless night and a good night’s sleep. And since no two guys sleep exactly the same, we’ve made it easy. Here are the best pillows to buy—entirely based on how you sleep. Time to get comfy.

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Your best night’s sleep simply starts with your mattress. If you’ve been suffering from a sleepless night here and there, your mattress is probably to blame—and that’s probably because it’s not quite right for your sleeping style. It’s time to re-up. Since mattresses can be a bit of an investment, we’ve made the choosing easy. Here are the best mattresses to get based on how you sleep.

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Sleep is as vital to life as air, food, and reruns of The Office, so taking control is a must. Luckily, there is plenty of tech to ensure you don’t have to do it alone, from gadgets that monitor your sleep to ones that straight up alter your environment for prime snoozing potential.

Whether your issue is falling asleep, sweating through the night, or getting comfy, we have you covered. These are some of the latest gadgets that are sure to help you get that much-needed rest.

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We take a comfortable night’s sleep for granted at home but, when it comes to travel, you may be stressed, knowing how hard it is to get a good night’s sleep. Well, it’s time to put your worries to bed (pun intended). If you want to sleep well while you’re traveling—yes, even on the plane—these are the products you need.

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Nothing ruins a camping trip like crappy sleep. When you’re already missing your bed back home, the last thing you need is a sleeping bag that leaves you shivering all night, or a tent that caves in at the first sign of rain. While we don’t have a solution for transporting your California king into the wilderness, we do have 5 great products that’ll help you get the best sleep possible under the stars.

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The editors of Men’s Health are your personal conduit to the top experts in the world on all things important to men: health, fitness, style, sex, and more.
 
CREATED BY MEN’S HEALTH FOR
How to Bring Your Workout Routine Home For The Holidays
Men’s Health Top Trainer Gideon Akande has a few tips to help you stay fit (and sane) when you head back to mom and dad’s.
The holidays are a perfect time to stuff yourself with mom’s comfort food and make up for lost streaming binges, which also makes them the perfect time to fall off the wagon when it comes to your fitness routine and goals.

And that’s the case even for the most dedicated among us, like celebrity trainer and Men’s Health 2015 Next Top Trainer winner Gideon Akande. A first-generation American born to Nigerian immigrant parents, Akande visits his extended family every few years in West Africa. With visits up to five weeks at a time, he’s become an expert at maintaining a fitness routine during long periods of travel (and comfort food galore).

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Follow these brutally honest 22 tips to get followers, money, and fame

 

Tim Denning

Nov 19 · 3 min read
 
 
 
 

Photo by Modern Affliction on Unsplash

As the resident douchebag that is asked to give social media advice to every man/woman and their dog — because of a tiny bit of success online that was mostly an accident — it literally kills me to have the conversation.

Dudes in suits want to know the secret to social media so they can make money from it. Their intention is selfish, which is part of the problem.

They call me in and ask the following:

  • How do we do content?
  • Do we build a brand?
  • What’s the strategy?
  • How do we get customers?
  • What’s our story?

These questions make my eyes bleed and my tongue slide to the back of my throat, blocking my airway and causing a resuscitation event to occur.

First of all, strategy kills social media.

Second, the word content takes a beautiful piece of art and turns it into a lifeless, soulless, dry, cold, heartless act that blocks the world from ever hearing what you’re trying to say.


This Is How You “Do” Social Media:

  1. You freaking do it. Post on one social media platform daily.
  2. Stop telling people how good you are. We don’t care.
  3. Be helpful. Don’t save your best tips for a paid upsell.
  4. Get out of your own way. You are the problem, not the social media platform.
  5. There is no hack to social media.
  6. Quit looking for a strategy because there isn’t one—other than post daily.
  7. Be thoughtful with your posts.
  8. Expect criticism and embrace it. You don’t have all the answers.
  9. Do not create a journal of your life (unless you want to be an Instagram Influencer — then, go for it, but that carries its own set of problems).
  10. Quit looking for secrets. There are none. Write, film, record and tell the best stories with actionable advice/tips you can.
  11. You get better by doing it more. When I went from writing two blog posts a week to ten, the results increased ten times.
  12. Be prepared to commit a few years of your life to social media. This tip is the barrier to entry and where a lot of people fall over.
  13. Please stop asking for followers. Followers don’t make a wealthy person; your mind does.
  14. Don’t worry what sort of posts might get attention. You can’t possibly predict what works. Just focus on posting more.
  15. Transcend the selfie generation and join the selfless movement.
  16. Know that who you are on day one of committing to social media, will not be the same person when you look back. Social media is really a journey of growth in a person.
  17. Answer messages from the audience and build relationships. This is where the opportunities are when you open your eyes and put down the selfie pole.
  18. Don’t worry about money for a long time. Social media is very slow to show an outcome and that’s why the lack of instant gratification kills most people’s goal to participate.
  19. Play nice. Be nice. Be the same person you are in real life as you are online.
  20. Build up other writers/bloggers/vloggers on your way.
  21. Don’t do fancy. You don’t need perfect lighting and HD cams. A basic phone can do the work for you even if you are a writer.
  22. It’s not about you.

After leaving the meeting, the dudes in suits wanting all the secrets to social media scratch their heads in disbelief. Can it be that simple? Yes it can.

Better Marketing

Advice & case studies

 

 
 
 
 
 

Applause from Jack Heimbigner and 378 others

 
 
 
 
 
 

Tim Denning

WRITTEN BY

Aussie Viral Blogger – Inspiring the world through Personal Development and Entrepreneurship. www.timdenning.net

How My Friend Made $400K From Selling an Insanely Simple eBook

The exact steps he took to benefit from focusing on one product

 

Tim Denning

Nov 20 · 9 min read
 
 
 
 

Photo by Jonas Leupe on Unsplash

I have mentioned a few times how a friend of mine made $400K USD from selling an insanely simple eBook. Quite a few people have asked me how, so I wanted to share the exact steps he took, given I once was curious myself.

While I didn’t decide to sell an eBook, my friend did inspire me to write a free eBook which has been downloaded more than 40,000 times.

The book that inspired my friend’s eBook was called “Crush It,” and it led him to share how he started his own blog and the basic tools he used to market it.


Flow States in an Exotic Location

While holidaying in an exotic location (I think it was Bali, but I can’t remember and it doesn’t matter) there was a power outage. My friend was without power and had nowhere to be. This seemingly tragic event for a blogger gave him the time and excuse to sit down and write his eBook.

Over the course of a few days, he started writing his eBook thanks to the power outage and didn’t stop. The exotic location, combined with the flow states it produced, pushed through the resistance for him to get started.

Once the book was written, he proofread it, got a cover done for a few bucks online, and posted it on his WordPress blog.

He didn’t believe for a second that his eBook was good. I was one of the early readers of his eBook. While it didn’t change my life or anything like that, it had one subtle thing going for it: It was helpful and gave a novice all the steps.

Ready? Let’s go. Here’s what he did to make $400K from that book.


Set a Decent Price Tag

Twenty dollars for an eBook is about the same amount you’d pay for a decent book written by a famous author like Tim Ferriss. (He was no Tim Ferris, but he didn’t let that belief stop him from charging as they do.)

By setting a decent price, he was able to earn his way to $400K a lot faster than most bloggers in his niche.


Believed in Himself

He wrote his eBook without any ego or without telling everybody he was better than them. The book was humble, insightful, and useful.

What he believed about his talent was that he could teach people, not that he was special or better than them.

People who can teach something useful online have the opportunity to make $400K as he did.


Acted Like an Expert

He demonstrated he was the expert and used evidence from his own blog to back up his point of view. At the time, he wasn’t a well-known blogger but that didn’t stop him from feeling as though he was an expert.

We’re all experts in something even if we’re not the Bill Gates of computers. You don’t have to be a household name to be an expert and write an eBook that makes $400K.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Spoke From Experience

eBooks that do well speak from experience and share a few stories to help prepare the reader for what it’s going to be like.


Kept It Short

The book took a few days to write and a couple of hours to read. It wasn’t a marathon read, and it’s length made it attractive. The price tag of your eBook and the value it brings has nothing to do with its length, only it’s usefulness.


Sent It to His Mailing List

There wasn’t some fancy marketing campaign or agency led social media promotion for his book. His marketing strategy was simple like his eBook and that’s all it needed. The eBook’s usefulness was his marketing angle, not the size of his email list or his marketing prowess.


Made It Inspiring

How he told people to set up a blog was pretty standard — but the fact he got you to actually take action was remarkable. He’s the reason that I became a blogger. Inspiration might sound stupid or shallow, but we all need a bit when it comes to being moved to take action.


Disclosed All the Steps

You can’t trick people with only giving them half the story. If you’re going to make six-figures from an eBook, you better be damn well prepared to give all of the steps and back them up with detail.

My friend’s eBook was literally a guide to setting up a blog and getting started. Without the guide, you’d be stuck searching Google and following opinions from people who have never done it or have made a life out of being a commentator rather than a doer.

People will tell you what you can’t do; they’ll rarely tell you what you can do.


Made It a Feature on the Homepage of His Blog

If you liked his blog, you couldn’t miss his eBook. The people who found his eBook on the homepage, like me, made up the bulk of the $400K in earnings.


Promoted It on Podcasts

This tiny little request led to people who had never read his blog to find his eBook and buy it to learn about what he had to teach.


Accepted PayPal

The straightforward idea my friend had was to choose one payment method that the most number of people around the world were likely to have access to. Instead of introducing the complexity of having a shopping cart with a merchant facility, he decided just to accept PayPal.

This decision was another reason he was able to make $400K. He made it easy for people to pay him through a method they were used to and gave them the protection that PayPal offers.

This way of accepting money is not the cheapest, but it did allow him to reach more people, which was far more important.


Wrote Evergreen Content

You could have read it a few years ago or read it today, and it’s still relevant, minus a few of the software plugins being out of date.

When you write an eBook, if you make it evergreen (meaning it’s hard to tell when it’s written and always relevant), you can keep earning money from it for years to come. Last time I checked, this eBook made $400K.

It’s highly likely it’s still making money years later because of how it’s written. (Homework for Tim: find out how much the eBook has now made.)


Created a Path to More

The people who read his eBook reached out to him and started conversations. Some of those conversations led to coaching sessions of $1,000+ per hour. It’s impossible to track how many hours of coaching came from the eBook, although it would have to be more than the $400K.

Having an eBook gives you a conversation starter that can fuel your business and give you clients. Or you can just make the money from the eBook and walk away — that’s fine too!


Understood It Took Time

He paid world leaders for coaching and attended events like A-Fest. These investments led him to expand his network and find ways to partner with like-minded people — thus making the $400K grow further.


Didn’t Monetize Every Channel

The temptation is to monetize everything, and that will only cause you to severely limit your reach.

What works well is to have a couple of channels you earn money from so that you can give people a break and let them have something for free. It’s through your free resources that people find you and any eBooks you have written.

If all you do is charge people, they may never get to come into contact with your work.

People read my friend’s free blog posts, and a percentage of those decided to go further with their learning and spent the $19.95 on his eBook.


Gave Some of the Proceeds Away

Some of the money he raised was used towards charitable projects and giving back to the people that supported him. Keeping all that money for yourself can make you forget the gift you’ve been given.

When you get what you want, help others get what they want.

That’s how you derive an empowering meaning from making that much money from a short, insanely simple eBook.


Never Took It Down

There were other projects, but his eBook always stayed live and hummed away in the background.

Resisting the temptation to take down his eBook was one of the reasons it made $400K. The eBook had time to simmer like a good stew and build momentum and flavor.


Here’s What I Hoped You Learned

  • Patience is key
  • Inspire people
  • Help other people in the process
  • Everyone starts by being inspired by another person

That’s how anyone can make $400K from an insanely simple eBook.

Better Marketing

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Applause from Jack Heimbigner and 1,843 others

 
 
 
 
 
 

Tim Denning

WRITTEN BY

Aussie Viral Blogger – Inspiring the world through Personal Development and Entrepreneurship. www.timdenning.net

 

 

 

Jon Brosio

Jon Brosio

Jul 10 · 9 min read
 
 
 
 

Photo by Joseph Ngabo

The world is changing. Millions of jobs are being lost due to automation.

In fact, according to a McKinsey study, an estimated 73 million jobs are going to be lost due to automation by the year 2030. You don’t need to look that far to see how the changes are already effecting the current economic landscape. In 2015, McDonald’s restaurant started implementing automated kiosks in their U.S. stores — they plan to have these rolled out in all 14,000 locations by 2020.

The fears of automation extend beyond the marketplace. In order to confront and offer counter measures to the onslaught of job loss looming; we even have a 2020 United States Presidential nominee whose campaign platform combats the issue with Universal Basic Income:

The redistribution of certain tax dollars (gained through a value added tax) as a basic citizen stipend of $1,000 to be used by the recipient with no questions asked in order to create monetary movement throughout the economy.

Like many modern technologies, there are both positives and negatives associated with these innovations. We see this with many of the things that have entered the marketplace in the last decade or so:

All of this brings us to the looming fears of automation and how that will strip away millions of jobs for hard working individuals.

But all too often when broaching this subject do we note the negatives of the technology. We often let fear get in the way of the opportunities that may lie in this encroaching technological and economic metamorphosis.

The jobs that are going to be lost with the onset of automation are jobs that are automatic in their own nature. They are monotonous, repetitive jobs that require mindless work that’s incompatible with creative human nature.

In this article, we’ll uncover how despite the looming fears of automation, it is actually a good thing. With the right tool set and strategies you can take this opportunity and develop an entrepreneurial endeavor with it.

How to Become a Badass Entrepreneur (In Today’s Economic Landscape)

I come from a small business family.

My grandfather, who was first generation American, decided to take a risk with his brother in the 1960s and go into business for himself and his family. They started a modest masonry business.

As things took off, he and his brother decided to part ways. My grandfather knew someone in manufacturing and in 1979 he started another business in metal finishing.

Straight out of high school, my father went work for him. In 1997, my father decided to break from his father’s business and started his own metal finishing enterprise.

The classic method of becoming an entrepreneur back-in-the-day went a bit like this:

You get an idea to start a business

You create a business plan of how you are going to actualize said business idea

You interview with banks in order to secure a business loan.

This business loan takes into consideration your operating costs, building rent, utilities, widget creation and all associated costs with getting your business off the ground.

You receive your business loan

You put yourself in debt to the bank and any other lender

You work your ass off to make a name for yourself

You have started a business — now you hope that you can sustain it

Sure, in that description, there are liberties taken. However, the overarching points of having a massive influx of tangible responsibilities (product, space and financial) make it hard to go into business for yourself. This doesn’t even take into consideration that 82% of businesses today that apply for a business loan are denied.

Compare that to today’s landscape where starting a business is as easy as:

Have a great idea

Use the internet to get that business idea out to the globe

Sell your idea

You see, with the automation of the repetitive job, the global economy is going to be looking for human creativity to solve its problems and fill its needs.

Let’s unpack the three listed steps above and how those steps can lead you to developing yourself into a badass that creates passive income…

1. Have a Great Idea

“Good artists copy; Great artists steal” — Pablo Picasso

Many people get stuck at this step (and we haven’t even left the runway yet) because they think that they need an idea that is completely and utterly unique in its essence.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

In tomorrow’s economy, the marketplace isn’t going to be contingent on everyone creating the next Facebook or Twitter.

As we move away from automated and monotonous work, the need for communication and storytelling will create micro-niches of like-minded tribes and within those tribes you will be able to create self-sustaining enterprises that don’t require millions of customers.

Take for instance the idea of 1,000 True FansKevin Kelly’s groundbreaking article on how moving into the future, a viable business can be sustained through the adoption of a product or service by 1,000 True Fans (fans that have literally and figuratively “bought-in” to a company or individual’s narrative and business thus creating repeat business whenever a new product or service is introduced to the marketplace).

The premise is simple:

You have a product that sells for $100 and you have 1,000 True Fans (as defined above). Those 1,000 fans buying a $100 product will lead to $100,000 in revenue. You can take it further by increasing the product price or the audience and the number of times you create, release and sell a product.

Your own idea that you are going to turn into an enterprise can be within a number of niches:

  • Self improvement/personal growth
  • Personal finance (though be well versed in personal finance legalities)
  • Physical health/exercise
  • Diet & cooking
  • Beauty and fashion
  • Lifestyle/homesteading/travel

To be clear, it’s not the uniqueness of the idea that is going to set your idea into monetary-building-motion, it’s the way you share and tell that idea.

Millions of people are into cross-fit, but perhaps on a few hundred or thousand might be attracted to the way you share the ideas associated with the discipline. Same goes for many other areas of interest.

Let’s now take a look at how to get that idea out and to the masses…

2. Using the Internet to Get That Idea Out to the Masses

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”
— Robin Williams

The internet is the epitome of game-changing technology.

While we’ve had the internet for many years, people are finally discovering the true potential of what it allows for us to do.

One of the biggest opportunities of the internet is the ability to connect like-minded individuals and groups with one another at extremely low costs and easy accessibility.

Through the creation of a website or through social media and internet forums, humans have the ability to find like-minded individuals engaging in discussion, discovering and examining their mutual interests.

The most viable route, considering the methods above, to becoming a badass that creates passive income is through purchase, creation and promotion of one’s website.

Consider your website as a modern day store front or manufacturing plant. It is your most valuable tool in becoming a modern day entrepreneur. In fact, new research notes that 87% of all consumers begin with their product searches online.

If you’re not online with your business idea and product or service, you’re not going to last in the future economy.

There are many avenues one can go with creating and hosting a site. The purposes of this article aren’t going to go into the specifics of how — on a technical level to do that — for more on that, check out this resource:

How to Start a Blog That Allows You to Leave Your 9–5
It’s not just building a business — it’s building your freedom
medium.com
 

Once you have your site built and you begin to gain traction on the internet, it’s time to turn your site into a business.

3. Sell Your Idea

“Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives.” — Daniel Pink

As stated earlier in the article, the problems that are going to be solved in the future economy are going to require human ingenuity, spirit and creativity.

All of those human attributes are going to be shared through educating one another.

Did you know that national college enrollment has declined the last seven years in a row? While there are many factors that contribute to the decline in enrollment including:

  • Lower birth rates
  • Higher tuition costs
  • Consolidation of enrollment to lower-acceptance rate Universities

One culprit is due to the ability of self-starters to be able to glean their education from utilities such as YouTube. With over 100 million hours of content being uploaded on YouTube every minute, it (and the rest of the internet) are turning into education machines.

This is where your opportunity comes into play…

Why put your content up on YouTube for the world to learn via your expertise and experience and have YouTube take home the spoils with the help of their advertisers?

In order to take home your piece of the pie in terms of your entrepreneurial pursuit, you’ll need to utilize the E-Learning marketplace and all of it’s available opportunities. E-Learning is an industry geared towards building educational content to audiences looking to increase skill share, knowledge, entertainment and the like.

Market research firm Global Industry Analysts projected E-Learning would reach $107 Billion in 2015 (spoiler alert: it did!). Currently, research indicates that the industry will triple in size compared to 2015 with an expected value of $325 Billion by 2025.

What types of educational products can you educate your audience with in order to solve their complex and creative problems the future will hold for them?

Can you see how this all starts to tie together?

Conclusion

The world isn’t what it used to be. Most of the time when people say this, they get fearful of what the future holds.

Millions of people are going to lose the jobs that they perform today — this is a fact.

But many overlook the opportunities in front of them. Take what passions you have and leverage that into a self-sustaining business, with little financial obligation needed to start it.

Starting a business that builds passive income can be done in three overarching steps:

1. Have a great idea

When you have an idea that helps solve a complex problem for a group of people, you have an enterprising business.

You don’t need to covert the world over to your idea. Using Kevin Kelly’s 1,000 True Fans idea — you only need to win over a small fraction of the population in order to make your idea a viable business.

2. Using the internet to get that idea out to the masses

When you utilize tools and modern technology, you can get that idea out to the public without the barriers (financial, distribution, inventory, etc) that stalled people from going into business for themselves in decades past.

This should be done through the ownership of your own site. With your own site, you create your internet store front.

Through your internet store front, you can utilize different strategies to generate traffic and build your audience base.

3. Sell your idea using various mediums

Once you have a platform from which to launch, you can use the growing industry of E-Learning to take your idea and form it into a product or service that will educate your loyal fans.

From there, there really is no limit to what you can create…

You can branch off and open up other businesses (create new websites in different niches) or build a personal brand and see where that takes you as an influencer or thought leader.

The choice is yours.

So stop being fearful of the future and start to see what opportunity lies on the opposite side of the same coin!

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Jon Brosio

WRITTEN BY

Jon Brosio

? Freelance Ghost Writer | ? Wine Aficionado | I’ll Teach You How To Build a ?-Making Blog: https://bit.ly/2GuQtgB

 

 

 
 

 

Explained by someone who’s done it multiple times and spent time with writers who’ve made a career out of it

 

Tim Denning

Nov 11 · 8 min read
 
 
 
 

Photo by Faisal Waheed on Unsplash

I have made over $5,000 on several blog posts that are no more than 3,000 words. There are fellow writers I know well who have done the same.

Like you, I’m no Ernest Hemingway or “Tim ‘4-Hour WorkWeek’ Ferriss.”

My ideas can suck. Some days, I can’t be bothered. I have my fair share of critics. Yet it still happened—and here are a few lessons that might help you along the way.

At the end of this article, I’ll share with you where the $5,000 is likely to come from.

Warning: this is not a guarantee

I can’t guarantee you will make $5,000 from one blog post, but what I can do is help you get a lot closer than you were before.

There’s no magic genie that can grant you your wish and pay you for your writing. Having said that, the commonalities of articles that have made $5,000 or more are hard to ignore.

Even if you fall short, what you’ll learn in the process will help you to get there if you persist. Let’s get started.

Have the Headline Make a Point

Part of having an article that does well is making a clear point in the headline. People will not click your article if they don’t know what they’re getting into.

Your headline provides an overview as to what’s about happen so the reader can decide if they want to sign up or run for their life. Make your headline so clear and simple that anyone can figure out what’s about to happen.

Syndicate Through Large Publications

When you see a bit of traction on an article, one tactic you can use is to syndicate your article.

It’s not rocket science and a lazy dude from Australia (me) uses this exact approach:

  1. An article starts to do well.
  2. Find a publication that has a large audience and publishes similar content (Google is your friend).
  3. Send an email like this to the editor: “Hi Big Name Publication, would you like to syndicate this article to your readers?”.
  4. Wait for a response.
  5. No response? Try a different publication.

It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to type an email with a story pitch to a publication. The only part about the email that matters is to make it incredibly short and link to the article.

If the article is a quality piece, editors will say yes.

Say Something Different

It’s cool to cover a topic like waking up that’s been covered by every writer seeking to become the next Mark Manson while Not Giving A Fuck.

Articles that make money say something different. The topic can be generic, but the writer’s ability to say what hasn’t been said or repackage their thoughts in a way that has never been written before makes all the difference.

It takes courage to say something different and it’s how you find the readers that finally sit up and listen to an idea that they’ve heard hundreds of times.

Be Unbelievably Helpful

The best articles are helpful. You walk away having felt something, or been entertained, or had a laugh, or learned something, or gained a new skill, or been inspired to consider an alternative point of view.

To be helpful is to create value — and that value transforms into dollars that can be spent in the real world by writers who remember to do so frequently.

Every one of us has at least one way we can be helpful. There’s something that you know that I don’t. There is a story that you know off by heart and that has never been shared before, which could help someone in desperate need.

If you have one goal, make it to be helpful.

Find a Problem People Are Currently Having

Solving problems is one of the shortcuts.

When people have a problem and you help them solve it, they share your work — and that’s what can lead to earning $5,000 or more. There are several ways to find a problem people are having. For me, I use the questions readers ask me most frequently to see common patterns.

If you don’t have an audience just yet, you can go on Quora and look at the most popular questions people ask in your field of expertise.

Writers that find a big problem and solve it go on to earn a healthy income from it. That problem can then be solved again and again through more articles that seek to unpack the problem further.

Research the Heck Out of Your Piece

Brilliant articles that make $5,000 are rarely thought of and published in ten minutes.

Consider researching your article or choosing a topic that you have been thinking about or learning about for a while. Spend some time choosing quotes that support your article or reading articles written by other writers that add meat to the bone of your piece.

There’s no need to rush your piece and you have time.

Include the Small Details

There are plenty of articles that make big promises, but then forget to include the small details that the reader can use and that makes the story helpful.

The difference between two writers that have covered the same topic is that the one who goes the extra mile will do better than the writer who is lazy and thinks people will figure out the details themselves.

Make your work simple by giving all the details.

Why are the small details left out? Because as a writer, you can fall into the trap of believing that if you share all of your secrets about a topic, you’ll have nothing left to give — or worse, nothing to charge for.

I say screw that. Tell people how you did the thing and give them everything you know.

Give all the small details that nobody else has taken the time to include in an article that has similar advice.

Use a Decent Image

Articles that do well don’t have dumb-looking dudes in suits high-fiving each other in a dimly lit office with a plain white wall in the background.

If you’re going to write a killer article that’s helpful and then select the first image you see in Google Images without putting any thought into it, you’re selling yourself short, amigo.

Take time to find the right image. The right image speaks to you and it sits nicely next to your headline.

Insert Your Experience

Repeating facts or making a point is not enough.

Share your experience with the topic and describe what you did or how you felt at that time. Humans crave experience because it tells us that if someone else has done it or experienced it, then we can too.

Without your experience, what you’re saying sounds impossible to normal people.

Have a Lot to Say

The topics that have made me $5,000 or more have all been about subjects where I’ve got a lot to say. The safest bet when it comes to a topic is something you care about.

Topics that frustrate you are good too, as long as you can draw something positive out of it all by the end. No one wants to hear your frustration that leads to more frustration and feeling like shit.

Show a Bit of Yourself

I’m tall, slim, have big ears, am an Aussie, eat too many frozen yogurts, have yellow teeth in-between visits to the dentist, doubt myself, and lost my job earlier this year before finding a new one.

That’s the truth, and as you can see, I’m not afraid to poke fun at myself or point out the not-so-glamorous parts of my life.

This rawness is what makes you relatable and people read the work of people that are just like them.

Fuse Storytelling With Actionable Advice

I can’t say I’ve seen too many articles that have made more than $5,000 and not had at least one actionable sentence in them.

You can go off on a tangent and tell a story if you’d like. Just don’t forget to include one bit of actionable advice. That actionable advice can be something as simple as a thought for readers to ponder at the end.

Tell stories, by all means, just make it actionable in some small way. Give us a takeaway or some homework to do so that the article lives on when it’s forgotten in a month’s time.

Make Your Work Evergreen

Evergreen writing means that if I read an article today, it’s hard for me to know when it’s written.

The easy way to achieve this goal is to avoid referencing the current political leader or the movie you watched last week.

Evergreen content can be helpful at any time. Think about Mark Manson’s piece “The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck.” It could be 2065, and you’re sitting on your rocking chair going, “You know what, Mark’s right — I’m going to stop giving a fuck and visit Mars next month.”

The best writers have been doing this for years and it’s something I only discovered recently by spending the time to do the research.

Where Does the Money Come From?

That’s your decision. You get to choose how the money makes it into your bank account. Here are a few ways to get you thinking:

  • Sell an eBook on your website for $20. Link to it in the article. (My friend made $400K from this idea.)
  • Sell a course that gives readers a path to learn more about the main concept of your article.
  • Submit your article to the Medium Partner Program.
  • Ask to be paid from a major publication.
  • Sell coaching services through your website that help people with the same concept you present in your article.
  • Use the audience from your writing to find a few new customers for your side business.

Or you can make zero dollars. You can bask in the glory of reaching lots of people and being helpful.

You can delay making $5,000 from an article and decide to make money from your work later on. (This was the option I took for the first few years.)

Final Thought

It’s entirely possible to make $5,000 from one single blog post. Many writers have done it through their WordPress blog, Medium, or by being featured in a major publication. The ways to earn money are only limited by your creativity and your ability to be helpful.

Find a problem or tell a story, be helpful, enjoy the process, put everything you have into your work, learn from those who have made money from writing — and maybe, just maybe, like me, you’ll discover that $5,000 is only the beginning.

Better Marketing

Advice & case studies

 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Tim Denning

WRITTEN BY

Aussie Viral Blogger – Inspiring the world through Personal Development and Entrepreneurship. www.timdenning.net

 

 

Normal people can do it too—without “selling out” or becoming someone they’re not in the process

 

Tim Denning

Nov 11 · 11 min read
 
 
 
 

Photo by Pete Pedroza on Unsplash

So you’re not as hip as a Kardashian or as naturally gifted at video as Casey Neistat. That’s okay — me neither.

And when you hear the word influencer or influencing people, you think of mind control the same way I do.

Yet you still would like to build a following on social media to be useful, entertain others, pursue a passion project, generate some extra cash, inspire people with your stories, or perhaps one day write a book. There’s nothing creepy or dirty about any of those goals.

The typical social media advice is not tailored for normal people like you and me who have one of these more simplistic goals. The typical social media advice is about becoming famous or rich or powerful, and normal people like us aren’t quite that obsessed with ourselves.

In 2014, I accidentally fell into this whole social media game when I started writing. (Writing was my aim, not social media — but the two go together.)

On LinkedIn, I can easily rack up millions of views on a post in a single day.

On Medium, I can write an article that makes it to the homepage or the popular list.

On large traditional publications like Business Insider, I can get published and reach many millions of people.

I don’t tell you any of this to impress you; I tell you because it was never my intent and I’m a pretty normal dude, which means you can replicate a lot of what I did without being super smart or gifted with tech.

Last week, I bumped into a guy on the tram who recognized me from LinkedIn. It was slightly creepy, so I just rolled with it. He had read a lot of my work and called himself a fan.

We had coffee together and at the end, he asked for a selfie so he could “cherish the moment.” It felt weird because I’m not the selfie kind of guy due to my resemblance to the famous character Dumbo and his giant, beautiful ears.

These experiences, though, happen when you put yourself out there and they don’t make you a sell out or inauthentic whatsoever. It all comes down to your intent.

In the rest of this article, I’m going to show you how to build a large audience on social media with practical steps, and how to use the audience for perfectly good intent without selling out or becoming someone you’re not.


The First Year

Think of your first year as one big experiment. The following will likely happen in the first year:

  • You’ll find topics you like talking about
  • You’ll find your voice
  • You’ll find out what you have to say
  • You’ll see how an audience will react to your message

These are all excellent outcomes and will give you the rocket fuel to dominate on social media later on.


The #1 Overlooked Strategy

The best strategy for social media is to add your own experience. Plenty of people have spoken about writing a book, but we haven’t heard about your experience trying to do exactly that.

There are plenty of articles on starting a business, but we haven’t heard your experience. The subtle differences and little anecdotes you share with an audience is where the value lies.

The way you stand out on social media is by adding your experience to everything you publish. This is the strategy I use every single day when my thoughts tell me I’m repeating a common idea, or I’m not good enough, or there is nothing to say.

Today I posted a video from a drone that has been done a million times. What was different about my post was that it mentioned how my girlfriend bought a drone and our experience as a couple flying a drone. That’s an example of what I mean by adding your own experience.

Here are my practical strategies for building a social media following.


1. Be Yourself

In every post you put up on social media, act the way you would in public. When I read your writing or watch your video, does it feel like we’re in the same room together? Is the person on social media the same as the one in real life?

This is a question I ask myself every day and it has helped me to connect with a wider audience by being a regular dude from Australia.


2. Gravitate Towards Ideas You Can’t Stop Thinking About

When people ask me about personal brands, my mind races for the next three hours full of ideas. These are the stories you want to tell because the content will come out of you with little effort and it will be the most helpful in that exact form.

The thoughts you can’t escape hold the best content ideas.


3. Avoid Einstein Quotes

A simple trick for normal people like us is not to follow the crowd. When it comes to quotes, the easy solution if you really want to share quotes is to find ones that are uncommon.

I typically take quotes from people like Jessica Wildfire or Michael Thompson, who are known on platforms like Medium but completely unknown on other social media platforms like LinkedIn or Instagram.

Avoid overused quotes and give people normal quotes from people they don’t know.


4. Don’t Follow Influencers

Their social media pages are full of their face and they even have their own hashtag. They talk down to you, make you feel like shit, and appear as though their life is perfect and they win every day. Avoid following these people.

Following influencers and copying what they do is the worst strategy I can think of. What is often hidden from plain sight is that many of these influencers cheated to get where they are.

Behind the camera or off social media, they are total assholes or would never help a single person — not even a hungry four-year-old child that approached them on the street and asked them for some food.

Having met many of these influencers, they did do one favor for me: they showed me what I will never be like and the pitfalls of a bit of attention. Influencers will give you a clear picture of what not to do.

My advice would be to do your thing and don’t worry about what everybody else is doing.

Do you, be you.


5. Tell Stories

  • Tell stories from your life
  • Tell stories about your career
  • Tell stories from people you admire
  • Tell stories from people in your life

Tell us as many stories as you can and get creative in how you do it. Start a story mid-sentence. Or leave us on the edge of our seat halfway through telling us a story. Use weird grammar or odd ways of inserting conversation into your story.

People love stories on social media, especially the ones that make them feel like they can be anything they want after hearing the story.


6. One Platform

You don’t need to be everywhere on social media and you’ll burn out trying. It’s why I quit Youtube and stopped updating my Facebook page (although Facebook reminds me regularly to start posting again with annoying notifications — no thanks Zucks!).

The other strategy that has become common is to take an audience from one platform and bring them over to another platform. A couple of people I follow on LinkedIn have started putting links to their Instagram pages in the comments section of their posts. They spam their audience with these links and they are mostly ignored.

Respect your audience and don’t try to shift them around to every platform, thus diluting all the good work you’re doing.


7. Know That You’re Helpful

When I started posting on social media, my career was nothing more than working for a bank with a small paycheque. Every day the thoughts of being nothing more than a banker, that no one would listen to, plagued my mind.

It was only when it became clear that the difference between people who do well on social media and those who don’t, is something so very simple: the people killing it on social media believe they have something to offer.

They don’t let their circumstances or their “normalness” hold them back; rather it’s what they use to show up every day and post.


8. Resist the Fear of Judgment

An angry dude who had a bad day is going to find you, hunt you down, and try to spoil your social media post with a hurtful comment.

A guy from the UK found my work on LinkedIn. Every day without fail, he would leave me harsh comments and make up stories about me. He would then tag his friends and do everything he could to attract more hateful comments. It worked and pretty soon, I had loads of comments from people who wanted me dead.

It nearly made me quit social media altogether.

But I didn’t quit. I researched the ring leader of this group of trolls and found out that he had sold his business for millions of dollars, and then the day after he was kicked out of his business because of his attitude.

He sat at home with his millions of dollars, and in a Youtube video, he admitted that he was bored out of his brain. That’s when he decided to go on social media, find a target, and shoot them down to relieve his boredom.

The hateful comments you may encounter often have nothing to do with you. Disconnect from being judged and focus on being helpful instead.


9. Pick Your Content Type

Play to your strengths and choose video, audio, the written word, or photos to share your message with the world.


10. Get Into a Group Chat

Group chats are one of the best ways to expand your knowledge of social media and get around people who are just like you.

The social connections from this group chat have been one of the most rewarding parts of social media for me.


11. Stay Clear of Personal Branding Mumbo Jumbo

Photo by REVOLT on Unsplash

Here are the key issues with personal branding:

  • It elevates you from normal to unrelatable
  • It makes you think you’re special
  • It tells strangers that you are better than them
  • It switches the focus from sharing stories and experiences to making people worship your name, which is your brand
  • It turns your name into a company designed to make money

You can make money from posting on social media without getting lost in the magic fairy dust of personal branding.

You don’t need personal branding whatsoever.


12. Post Daily

The quickest way to build traction on social media is to up the number of times you are posting rather than look for ways to hack social media or take shortcuts.

When I went from posting once a week to posting every day, you’d think it was my audience that got bigger. That’s not what happens, though.

Posting daily allowed me to get clearer with my message and the way I spoke and that eventually allowed me to reach more people.

I went from the dreaded “Speaker, Entrepreneur, BlockChain Guy, Finance Specialist, Sales Professional, Keeper of Wisdom, Best Selling Author” to a succinct and crystal clear “Writer — inspiring the world through personal development and entrepreneurship.”

That level of simplicity is how people will be drawn to your work and what you have to say.


13. Answer Questions From the Audience

In simple terms, a raving fan is someone that follows everything you do, comments on your social media posts, advocates for you, battles the trolls on your behalf, and shows up at an event to hear you speak.

One raving fan is worth one thousand normal followers.

The little strategy that is rarely practiced is to create raving fans. How do you do that? One way is to answers messages and emails from your audience. Taking just a few minutes each day to talk with people from your audience builds loyalty, trust, and makes you real.

When your audience can see you are the same person in your social media posts that you are in real life, you become uncommon and that leads to the creation of the holy grail known as raving fans.

Talk to people and answer their questions.


That’s How Normal People (Like Us) Can Build Large Social Media Followings

If me, Dumbo the Elephant, can take a selfie in a coffee shop with a reader and not vomit from embarrassment and the potential of being labeled a dreaded influencer, then you certainly can too.

Normal people like us can build a large social media following and not sell out or become someone we’re not in the process.

Normal people like us can use social media with perfectly good intentions and help people while we’re at it.

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Tim Denning

WRITTEN BY

Aussie Viral Blogger – Inspiring the world through Personal Development and Entrepreneurship. www.timdenning.net