Derek Sivers Interviews → Tim Ferriss

ask yourself what would happen if, say in a 48 hour period, you eliminated x or did the opposite of x? What happens if you completely stop managing and pursuing certain customers, and simply respond to questions or orders?

So what would happen if you eliminated this? Let’s just say 48 hours, seven days, one month? What would happen if you did the opposite? Those are two very, very useful questions. Most people avoid certain actions because they view changes as permanent. If you make a change, can you go back to doing it like you did before?

Aren’t there things you can do in your business where you can cheat?” It doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It’s just finding an advantage.

Being able to deconstruct your assumptions is very important. Most people tend to be quite logical but have faulty assumptions.

What I’m good at recognizing and deconstructing is – if I’m not getting the result I want, what are my assumptions? What are my “have-to-do”s? Do I have to pay my dues? Is that a have to? Am I suffering suddenly because I’m putting in my dues without really questioning is that necessary in the first place?

I ran a dozen different ads with a dozen different potential titles as the advertising headline, with the potential subtitles as the ad text. The click-through page was nothing, but I wasn’t concerned with the conversion or cost per acquisition. I was only concerned with the click through rate – which of those dozen headlines was most popular.

you don’t need to sacrifice your artistic integrity to do this. All you’re doing is coming up with a number of options that you would be happy with as an artist, and then allowing the market to help you decide and choose among those options.

If you have something that you would like to make and you just don’t know how to test it, make sure you’re scratching your own itch.

When friends talk about starting a business I say if you’ve got idea you want to do, don’t sit there for a whole year trying to raise funding or whatever before you can put it out in the world. Just give yourself a 10-day deadline.

Just get it out there and start to get feedback.

how does this outsourcing idea apply to people who have found what they love to do in a hands-on business?

“If you love what you do, are making the money you want to make, and have all the free time you want – then don’t read my book, you don’t need it.” First of all, I don’t distinguish between business and personal time. I view time as a non-renewable resource.

When deciding where to allocate your time, determine your relative income versus your annual income.

Instead, determine what your hourly rate is. If you work 40 hours a week and you take two weeks off per year, then you can cut the last three zeros off your salary and divide it in half. If you make $50,000 you cut it off to 50, you cut that in half, 25. You make $25 an hour. Now you can determine your real cost of delegation.

“If you’re not willing to address work hours, then start cutting back on minutia of time consuming activities of personal life.”

Then secondly, this is a very hard concept for most people to accept, a big part of having extra time to allocate – for either personally gratifying activities or high impact revenue generating activities – is getting over yourself.

I deconstructed my own process for checking email.

It’s about realizing that everything you do in your business is this kind of process.

It’s like, well, everything you do can be described in a system. You just have to get yourself used to thinking about it in that way. I took that experiment with my own company: taking the stuff that was still getting thrown at me as the owner, and asked, “Well – how am I making these decisions?” I had to analyze my own brain – my thought process.

Most people are actually pretty smart when you give them a few guidelines and responsibility, and they take it seriously.

So setting a financial threshold for independent decision making, if you have employees, is very important.

I agree. Here are a few questions you’re gonna ask yourself whenever you feel overwhelmed: “If I were to never retire how do my decisions and priorities change?”“If I get what I want – if I win the game, whether that’s doubling the number of customers, tripling revenue, or whatever – is my work flow scalable? Is my lifestyle scalable?”“Is indefinite growth a good thing? Why are you in this business? Is it really just to grow indefinitely? Is it to sell it? If you sell it, what do you do? What are your alternative activities?” People think that filling the void is easy, but it is one of the hardest things in the world to do.

I know that if my creative friends had more free time, they’d put it into creative pursuits, which would probably end up being better for them and their career than the stuff they do spend their time on.

If you didn’t have to do anything what would you do? What if you couldn’t do anything? What would you do with the little bit of time you spent? Of course it makes you focus on what’s really really important.

identifying the 20% of activities or people that consume 80% of your time. Also identify the 20% of actions, services, or customers that give you 80% of your profit. Then there’s Parkinson’s Law which I think is very, very important to keep in mind. It says that a task will swell in complexity and perceived difficulty depending upon the amount of time that you allocate to it.

Long life is not guaranteed, folks. It’s important to really question this deferred-life plan that saves all retirement for the end.

“If you’ve got a list of 20 things you should be doing, pick the most important one or two and then just let go of the rest. You will never upload your music to every one of these sites. You will never contact every person. You will never enter every contest. Just take the one or two things that would make the biggest difference in your career, do those one or two, then stop.

Asking, “What are the one or two things that, if that’s all you did today, today would have been well-spent?”

“If this were the only thing I achieved tomorrow, would I be satisfied with the outlook of the day?” If I can’t answer yes to that, it should not be the first thing I do. So don’t check email first thing in the day.

Assume that income has no practical value without time, because income is renewable, while time is not. Time has no value without attention.

If you have a void, meaningless busy-work will expand to fill that time, because it makes you feel better.

So think of attention management as much as you think of time management.

“The world throws opportunities your way every single week. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed already, you’re not going to be able to embrace them. Keep your mind clear of these feelings of obligations so you can be open to receiving new opportunities.”

Laziness can mean blurred priorities and indiscriminate action. You can be very busy running around with a cell phone to your head 24 hours a day and still be very lazy because you’re not taking the time to prioritize.

“What were the one or two biggest wastes of time?”

I think getting specific is one of the best bits of advice for almost everyone.

Getting specific can turn vague desire into concrete action.

So you use marketing to acquire customers, and product to keep customers. You need to use those two in tandem. You need to learn how to sell around your product.

The way you avoid that is to have an interesting story to tell.

think that a two step approach where it’s not a featured article about your music but rather a link that takes them to that featured article that you probably wrote yourself about you and your music is much more effective.

Polarizing is very important. Don’t try to make everyone your customer and don’t try to make everyone happy. Be very, very honest. Don’t be offensive for the sake of being offensive. Don’t start problems for the sake of starting problems. Be honest, like three glasses in with a group of friends.

That’s why it’s important not to spend your time online defending yourself. Give other people a chance to join into the melee.

Instead, I would identify the influentials by asking conference organizers, “Who are the thought leaders in this space? Not the guys who have 20 million people reading their blogs, but the guys who the traffic leaders are reading?” Who are those thought leaders? They’re easier to reach.

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