#18 Getting Focused – How To Decide What To Work On.


In this episode of Australia’s most thorough Internet marketing business podcast we talk about how to figure out where to focus your energy. If you’re the typical Internet marketer then you’ve probably got more ideas in various stages of completion than you need. That’s why having a core focus is key. How you identify that core focus is critical.

Duration: 58 min / 66 MB.

Products & Resources

Have you seen the Freedom Ocean Internet Marketing Products page? Everything we recommend lives here. Website development packages, Internet marketing training, SEO packages and more.


Become part of the Freedom Ocean tribe and you’ll:

1. Be the first to know when a new episode is launched.
2. Receive a transcript of every episode.
3. Discover valuable tools and resources that will have you swimming in the Freedom Ocean sooner than you ever thought possible.

Subscribe via iTunes

Subscribe via RSS (non-iTunes feed)
If you have enjoy the show, we’d love you to leave a review on iTunes



Tim: Welcome back listeners to the Ocean! The Freedom Ocean, and I am one of two hosts. I’m Tim Reid and that right there, you can’t see him, but what’s your name, mate?

James: James Schramko. That’s really, that’s phone message things, isn’t it?

Tim: There it is. That’s James Schramko.

James: It’s like when you like, go after the tone. Say your name. And you’ll say, James Schramko, and you go the most contorted message ever. But it’s not about us. It’s about the listeners.

Tim: Correct! It’s not, mate, it’s absolutely not. So welcome back, listeners, to Australia’s most-loved profitable internet marketing business podcast. That’s what we call it on iTunes, James. We call–the loving name is Freedom Ocean, for reasons we are here to help our listeners create a lifestyle that is full of freedom.

James: Well, you know, that’s interesting about the naming on iTunes, because one of our listeners said why is your podcast called Freedom Ocean. And we’ve actually covered this in one of our episodes, and it might be worth re-capping what we have covered, because we have covered a lot. But one of our listeners went to Goggle and typed Freedom Ocean into Google and what did he find? He found all authority listings and pages of Freedom Ocean results. In fact, listeners should go to Google and type in Freedom Ocean and see what comes up as an experiment. And what should they do when they’re there?

Tim: Well, click on it and visit our website and register to become part of the Freedom Ocean community. Am I missing something?

James: No, no, that’s good. It was a good prompt. And we actually give away the transcription for every episode to our loyal email subscribers. That’s what’s in it for them.

Tim: Yeah, yeah! And you know what? I was saying to you only earlier today, James, you know, I wonder will the people read those transcriptions. We know that odd person does; the very odd person, actually. Hello to those odd people out there that are listening. But there are people who have downloaded them and highlighting and scribbling all over them, probably more than I give credit for. So that’s great! Which means that the content that we are sharing is of value, of enough value to listen to and read.

And on that point, mate, it’s worth just re-visiting some of the content we shared up until today’s show. Last episode we talked all about domain names, both as a business opportunity and just how you should go about identifying good domain names and registering them. Episode 11, absolute ripper! Membership sites, got a lot of feedback on there. Got a lot of feedback on all the episodes, really, both through show notes and our Facebook page. I particularly liked product creation, Episode 5, James. Something that’s on the tip of every internet marketer’s tongue. And one more, which kind of, I think, we got a lot of attraction on was Episode 9, where we went behind the scenes on how we produce this show, where the idea came from, and how it got to be number one on iTunes.

James: Yeah, that whole podcast thing. And I am the first one to say that I wasn’t really into podcasts when you approached me to be on this podcast. It was something that I dabbled with; I’ve definitely done interviews, I’ve published them in my blog, but I hadn’t gone into iTunes. Now I’m listening to a lot of podcasts. I listen to you and to Luke on your other show, which is called—

Tim: Small Business, Big Marketing.

James: I love that show. That’s a really mature podcast. It’s going spectacularly well. And—

Tim: It’s been going for about two and a half years now, and I remember way back then—I think we’ve touched on it before, but, you know—I had an idea…I started to listen to podcasts pretty much as soon as it came out, which is about 5 or 6 years ago, and dreamt of putting one together. Finally did and, you know, two and a half years in to being a podcaster, I just realized what a powerful channel they are for building your personal brand for helping educate others for just a basically fantastic marketing channel for any business. And you’re finding the same, aren’t you?

James: I’m enjoying watching something that we started from scratch. I mean, we literally went on and purchased the domain name and we had ninjas build the site very quickly. And now we log in to our email account. We can see lots of subscribers; we see a huge take up of people clicking on the links. And we broadcast out transcription updates, which is something that proves that there’s value. We got a high amount—sometimes the link’s a little bit big, though, isn’t it, Tim? (laughs) Those emails. And we might talk about that, because that’s quite interesting. The biggest controversy yet, I think, on Freedom Ocean, is the size of the text—

Tim: That’s right. We love a good controversy, though! (laughs)

James: And it is fascinating to see, but also looking at all the search results, looking at the analytics, looking at the behavior and of course, the sales, and being able to place a commercial value on the podcast, it was something that inspired me to start my special secret project, which we sort of dropped at one of our prior episodes. And that’s going along quite nicely.

Tim: And that called?

James: Well, what I did, Tim, is I actually had a back catalogue of interviews on one of my blogs and I simply submitted that to iTunes and pretty much re-purposed it as a podcast and, as we sit today, I think two of the episodes are in the Top 10 right now. And so my back catalogue are getting a bit of a workout to a brand-new audience. So the key element here is—

Tim: And that’s called? I was going to say that’s called internet marketing speed. And the big word there, re-purposing. I love this concept of re-purposing. We have touched on it before, but I don’t think we can talk about it too much because, you know, what it does is it puts an incredibly high value on things that, previously, might just not a valued content you might have been sitting on, thinking it ‘s run it’s race, it’s life span is up; where in actual fact, you know, it may only just be beginning and you could be leaving money on the table if you don’t re-purpose content that you’ve got.

James: Yeah. In any business, there’s hidden resource sitting right there under your nose. So I did something incredibly obvious, and the best ideas are obvious, that’s what my teachers have taught me. I actually had the person who transcribed my Traffic Grab product, my secret, special ninja who has amazing talents. She actually logged into my blog and she posted the transcription into 60 separate posts. My job then is to come along and just read them and turn them into the audio version.

So in terms of preparation and leverage, I took an existing product, I had chopped up into little pieces, had it posted in draft mode to an already existing blog, and then I come along and just read them and turn them into podcast. So I don’t have to have it transcribed, because I’m actually reading back the post. Secondly, I can modify the text. You know, it’s 85 percent there, I just change it, update it a bit, move it around, make it relevant to that particular segment of my audience. And now I have some really content-rich media that I can put out into the marketplace and further leverage my brand and my reach. So it’s been a really good exercise.

Tim: And therein lies, we’re entering a lot of topics here and listeners, don’t worry, we will produce an episode on each one of them. We’ll do an episode on re-purposing. Another topic you’ve just raised is just podcast generally. And people freak out. A lot of business owners that I speak to are very keen to podcast, but they freak out at maybe, they might be a blockage around. It might be technical blockage, it might be a hurdle around what will I say, who would I do it with, where would I do it, all these different things and yet, you’ve just articulated a beautifully elegant way of creating a podcast, an ongoing podcast, that’s ranking really well on iTunes.

We’re doing the same with another structure, another podcast structure in Freedom Ocean. Luke and I do another way of podcasting with Small Business, Big Marketing. And the list goes on and on and on. And I think it’s an incumbent—if that’s a word, James—incumbent upon you and I, at some point, to put together an offer for our listeners to learn how to bring a podcast to life quickly and simply.

James: Yeah. Absolutely! And I’ve just been through this process with a client of mine. We took existing content, we took an idea, and we’ve come up with a podcast that is now live and out there in the marketplace in a relatively short space of time. And once you’ve done a couple, it’s very easy to put together. So we’ll do that. But probably something that is a good episode topic, and I guess we’ll have to come up with something to hang your head on for this episode, where you say this is the one about whatever.

Tim: (laughs) Correct! Correct!

James: Maybe we’d go one step back and we’ll have a look at how that decision to make a podcast for me came about. And the bottom line is, it fits my yes-no filter. And we might want to discuss some aspects around that.

Tim: Well, that is a very good segue, James Schramko, into what tonight’s—today, tonight’s—topic is all about. And that is—we’re calling it the yes-no episode. 10 minutes in, 11 minutes in, we finally got to today’s topic. But interestingly enough, it reinforces exactly why this episode is called the Yes-No episode. It’s because the opportunities in the world of internet marketing: start and run a business.

There are so many, and you and I have been having some fantastic discussions around this concept of what I call “Getting to Yes.” Because, you know, personally I’m talking absolutely from personal current experience. I am a creative person by nature. I love a good idea. I have many, many opportunities, both on the drawing board and working on them right now as businesses. But you do get to a point where you think, my God, where’s the focus? Where is the focus? Have I said yes to too many things, and have I not used that wonderful two-letter word called No and ending in O, enough? You know? It’s just one of those things where I personally find it’s much easier to say yes than no, because you don’t want to miss an opportunity. But it can create a lot of pain.

James: Opportunities are a little bit scary, because sometimes we actually have the best intentions but we may not be actually carry off the end result that the opportunity represents, because we may not have the resource, we may not have the passion, we may not have the skills necessary to set it off. So we have to be pretty careful when we say yes to something. It’s as simple as knowing the fundamental thing that if you say no to something, it’s like saving your power to when you get to say yes. You’ve got it there, you do have a finite capacity as an individual. You can leverage things, you can systemize things, you can strategize things, but at some point you run out of capacity. So there’s a few ways we can sort of represent this with a metaphor. We might delve into a couple of those to explain it better.

Tim: Yeah, absolutely! Absolutely! So well, why don’t you start, mate? Just jump right in.

James: Alright. Well, let’s say we went down at the beach. And—

Tim: With the Freedom Ocean beach?

James: Absolutely! We’re down at the Freedom Ocean, we look across and within eyesight we can see a wonderful little tropical island, and they’re giving away ice creams and beer and they’ve got music playing, it looks a lot of fun! And we think, that’s the goal. That is the destination, that’s where I want to be.

Tim: It’s the bright, shiny object.

James: So we saunter down to the water and we hop in, we dive in, and we’re swimming towards that beautiful tropical island, which is just within eyesight. But as we swim, there are invariably currents that start to move us around a little bit. And what we need to do is we need to occasionally look up and make sure that we’re still on track. So this is all consistent with goal setting.

But you know, what a lot of people do, they know where they want to go, they know what they’re going to do when they get there, they’re passionate about it, but invariably they get distracted. They get confused, they might see a nice lady surfer go past on her surfboard and turn around and look at that, or they’d find an abandoned jet ski that’s ready to go, full of fuel and what an opportunity! I can just jump on this jet ski and I can muck around for a while. And suddenly we’re taking ourselves off track from the tropical island. Next thing you know, we’re five kilometers out to sea, we’ve run out of petrol, the island’s nowhere to be seen, and we’re like “Wow! What am I doing here? How did this happen?” Yeah.

Tim: Pretty crazy beach! We’ve got lady surfers just kind of scooting past and abandoned jet ski’s.

James: But it can happen! This is like us, we’re along in our business and, you know, there are distractions. We’re here, from a further bright, shiny objects. And you know what the reality is? It’s actually, sometimes the things that we need to do to get where we want to get to aren’t as exciting as the alternatives. In any office, there are plenty of things that could distract us, even in the home environment, you know, that 50-inch television screen is only a short walk away, if you decide that’s going to be easier to just sit down and watch a DVD or play something instead of doing what needs to be done. And I’m sure we all loll around those really important jobs because they’re not as exciting. So it’s quite easy to say something that is more desirable than the thing that we have to do. So that’s one aspect of it.

The other aspect of it is that sometimes we’re absolutely petrified of what could happen if we do the things we know that could make us hugely successful, because it does involve change. And when we change, when we go through that change process, if we do publish something that’s fanatically popular, it’s going to bring attention to us. It’s going to change our perception in the marketplace. It’s going to increase our workload, with customer’s that are going to invite new opportunities that might push off our comfort barriers. So again, we sometimes press jobs away. We sometimes say yes to the easy things and we sort of avoid doing the difficult things.

Tim: And I’ll add to that too, James. I think there’s definitely the bright, shiny object syndrome. There is definitely this element of it’s going to require change and, you know, almost a fear of success too, in some people. I also add to that, this concept of the missed opportunity. And I think, one of the main reasons we say yes to so many things is because one of them, we think, might just get some traction. We just don’t know which one! And that is not probably the right criteria for saying yes. It’s not a numbers game, it’s much more. It’s less quantity and more quality, isn’t it?

James: Yes. So really, if we were just to summarize what we said, having a very, very clear picture of what the right thing to do is, that is very important. You’ve got to know what the right things are. And secondly, if you know what they are, you have to be unyielding on your passion for pursuing that. And when things pop-up that don’t fit the criteria, you’ve got to be able to say no. I’ll give you another example. When I used to be in the car dealership, we used to get the opportunity to buy trade ins. And people would come to our dealership and offer to sell us a Mercedes Benz that we could then buy and put on our sales lot and sell.

When you’re buying cars and it’s sort of the company checkbook, it’s sort of attractive to buy everything. You look at any car and you can be, “Oh yeah! We could polish that up. We could change the wheels. We could run it through the workshop and sell it, we might make 5 or 6, or 7 or 8, or $10,000. Everything looks like you can do that. But then we have these very, very expensive accountants come into the dealership and they made us do a stock matrix. And the stock matrix is another form of yes-no.

The deal was they went through our last few years’ worth of sales, they identified the most profitable transactions, and they actually made or plotted a spreadsheet or the type of vehicles that had sold the fastest for the highest amount of profit. So we knew when we walked out the door to look at a car to buy, we knew that if it was in the matrix or out of the matrix. And if it was on the edge, if typically it takes too long to sell or there wasn’t enough profit, then it was an automatic no.

Even if it was the best example of that particular model, even if it was well-priced according to other versions of it in the marketplace, it was not falling within our perfect criteria. So knowing what your perfect criteria is, like, your perfect criteria might be gold, your perfect criteria might be the type of customer you want to deal with, the type of way you want to live your life, it doesn’t really matter, but as long as you know what your perfect criteria is, it helps you recognize when something is not your perfect criteria and say no to it. And I can give you a classic case when most people fall over this. And that is when they accept email subscriptions for things that are not their perfect criteria, because that now gives permission for those emails to come in and inundate and occupy their attention and keep them away from their perfect criteria objectives.

Tim: Yep. Yeah! Well, why don’t we spend a bit of time, go one for one if you like, on identifying some ways of coming up with the perfect criteria?

James: Yeah. Absolutely! First—

Tim: So you start—okay! Yeah!

James: (laughs)

Tim: So first of all, clearly, lifestyle. Is saying yes to this opportunity going to improve my lifestyle?

James: Perfect! Now, on a macro level, a lot of people say yes to taking a job that is not their passion. And unless they question that or re-calibrate that ideal, then they’re actually going to be stuck with that. They’ve said no to being an entrepreneur or no to a better job.

Tim: Yep, okay!

James: So another thing is saying yes to this relationship going to help me get a better scenario, you know, because some people put up with—and I’m not just talking about life patterns. I’m talking about friendships as well. And I’m also talking about client relationships. There’s no reason to put up with to toxic partners, toxic friends, toxic family or toxic customers if you don’t want to live a toxic life. You have to actually make a decision. I’m going to say no to that so that I can say yes to good relationships, good partners, good customers. I only want to deal with the best customers.

Tim: And I’d add to that point of choosing the people to work with or choosing the ventures to follow the opportunities to say yes to. It really is worth spending a little bit time in digging a bit below the surface to see what kind of person or opportunity that is. Because once it gain—I’m certainly guilty of jumping to a very quick yes—for actually realizing that, you know what, that relationship, that client, that opportunity, it just doesn’t fit with my values. But values are a great thing. If you don’t know what your values are, stop right now and figure out what are those three to five—I call them actually guiding principles. What are those three to five guiding principles that you can use as a filter for deciding whether an opportunity sits well with you. And you’ll know what those values are. I mean, they’re part of you, they’re basically what guides every decision that you make. It might be honesty, transparency, openness quality, you know, any of those values, and there’s lots of them. It’s a great exercise to do.

James: Well, you know, when I used to sell cars, people would come in and happily waste your time. And when I’ve studied—I can’t remember, it was either Brian Tracy or Tom Hopkins, someone will probably correct me—but they used to have this philosophy that when somebody wanting to take up your time but they have no intention to buy, they are literally reaching into your wallet and taking the cash out of your pocket. And if you permit that, then it’s your responsibility. You put a strong blinker on where you spend your time, what you spend it on and who you spend it with. So I think, yes, your guiding principles will definitely identify that for you.

Tim: Absolutely! And it sounds brutal! But yeah, what a great mindset to take, where if you look at someone who’s literally on the kayak kicking tires, yeah! What do they call it? Pick pocketing!

James: Yeah! Well, my old boss used to say they’re oxygen thieves.

Tim: (laughs) I’ve heard that one before! That’s a good one! So let’s talk a bit more, James, about getting to yes? Because, you know, we know. We read what’s being posted on our Facebook page, we see the listener comments. We have a hell of a lot of email come in. And for listeners, you know, every email we send out you can hit reply and it comes straight back to James and I, so know that and use it, because we want to hear what you’re thinking. And there’s no doubt, James, that our listeners are saying yes to a lot of things. They’ve got a lot of opportunities, but if they’ve listened to the 18 episodes of Freedom Ocean so far, they’ve going to be hit with the affiliate business model. You know, the product creation business model. The domain name business model. In the future, we’re going to talk about the webinar business model. You know, we’re hitting them with opportunities, and they need a filter to decide which one is good for them, and not just to jump at the next bright, shiny object.

James: Yeah, and luckily there’s a technique they can deploy that helps them with that. And this is a multi-millionaire drummed this into me. He had this favorite phrase. And he used to shorten it to two words, but I’ll use three words here. He used to look at you and say, “What’s the point?” And he would say that. So when I would listen to a recent podcast, I heard a couple of guys chatting about Twitter, and discussing whether it’s good or bad or what is that—

Tim: That’s an excellent podcast! I heard that one too!

James: It’s awesome, mate! What’s the name—no! (laughs) No, but my old boss would’ve walked into the room, slam the door open, and he’s go, “What’s the point?” He would say, “What is the point? What are you trying to achieve? What are you trying to get out of this? It’s yes or no.” And he used to actually say to me, “Everything comes down to a yes or no. Black or white. On or off.” I mean, that ultimately and to emphasize his point, we had this classic scenario. Some guy came in to tell us about the anti-theft device in these modern vehicles. And they had these elaborate electronic, rotating algorithms that change everytime you put the key in the ignition, blah, blah, blah. But you know what he said? Ultimately, it’s the positive and negative on the battery to the start of the motor. That’s ultimately how the thing’s going to start. And if you can’t figure out the electronics, you can always just knock the owner over the crowbar and take his keys. Like I said, it’s a yes or no. Is this car going to start? Yes or no? And you can always find a simple solution.

So when you’re wondering, should I be doing this or not? Just step back and ask yourself, what’s the point? You know, why am I doing this? What’s the point of this? What am I hoping to achieve from this? And this actually really helps you. You know, you see a lot of people dwell on negative things. They get so riled up over disputes or forms, stashes or people stealing things from you and all of this, and they carry on about it. And you have to say, what is the point? What are they trying to achieve from this? And quite obviously, a lot of people have never even asked themselves that question. Because if they did sit and think what’s the point of this, they’ll come to the conclusion that it’s a complete and utter waste of energy or activity to dwell on this or to go beyond the point where the simple answer will do.

Tim: It’s a great question, what’s the point. And, you know, I’m just reflecting once again on our listener base, James. And I know for a fact that a lot of listeners of Freedom Ocean have come across from Small Business, Big Marketing. Which means, they currently small business owners, our bricks and mortar business owners who are looking for maybe a change in the way they go about their work, and with that comes a mentality that you must be busy 8 hours a day, right? And if that’s the case, then in order to be busy 8 hours a day, I need to have a number of projects on the go.

And once again, I’m talking from personal experience here. It sounds a bit wacky and maybe you look at me and go, “Well, you know, you’re a bit strange, Timbo.” But you’ve said that before for a good reason anyway. But you know, the thing is, we do. We feel as though we need to feel every hour of the working day. We prefer not to, but you know, I was in corporate for years. And when I left corporate and started my own business, and now as I head more and more into a world of internet marketing, I very quickly realized that it ain’t about the number of hours you spend at your desk; it’s about the quality of time that you put in to a particular project. And so, saying yes to whole lot of things in order to feel the week is not a smart decision.

James: Yeah. I mean, I was going to step in there and say it’s not even the quality of work that you put in the project. All it comes down to is doing the right things. That’s it. You could do very few of the right things, but if they are the right things, then you will get a better result than someone doing the wrong things. And like the classic example, it’s like if we were plonked out into the desert, and there was a well a hundred meters from us, you could walk 10 kilometers in the wrong direction, you’re not going to get a drink from the well. And I could just stroll a hundred meters in the right direction to that well, get there in a fraction of the time, and I’ll drink while you die, unfortunately. And I’m trying to—

Tim: Yeah! There you go!

James: Down metaphor—

Tim: Podcast—

James: (laughs) No! I need you! You carry us! You’re the rock! You’re the talent!

Tim: (laughs) Where’s that well?

James: But the thing is, it’s about knowing the right thing and just focusing on that and saying yes, I want to commit to locating that well and I want to commit getting there effectively. I don’t have to walk in any special way, it’s not an activity-based game. So the bottom line: what is the point of business? The point of business is to create and maintain a customer so that you can make a profit. So the point is it’s not measured on how many hours you worked. It’s not measured on whether you look busy. It’s measured on what energy you put into it and what result you got out of it.

Tim: James, I reckon, by now, most of our audience will be nodding their head going, “Yep! I feel the pain. That’s me! That’s me! That’s me they’re saying!” So I think there’s a bit enough problem creation. There is a solution to this. There is a solution to—

James: How to get some relief?

Tim: A bit of relief! I think this is the time; the afternoon breeze is coming through the Freedom Ocean. It was a hot morning, we got all a bit hot under the collar, but now the afternoon breeze has come through. And there is a solution to figuring out what to say yes to and what to say no to. So why don’t we start talking about that?

James: Yeah. Well, firstly let’s just remedy the email thing. I know this was brought up in an earlier episode, but it’s just such a big problem. And I have found a great solution to this and this will help a lot of our listeners. In fact, what I’d like to do is I want to measure their response for this. I would like our listeners to comment, in iTunes, what happened after they implement my recommendation. And this is based on the fact that most of our listeners use a computer and I would suggest that our listeners set their homepage to a very simple dashboard. And the dashboard should be the sites they need to visit or check, you know, whether it’s once a day or once a week, so that they can get off emails. So that they don’t have to say yes to all these incremental attacks.

If I know that I can go and visit my industry news site once a week, I don’t need to receive the industry news email, because I can just go visit the site and catch everything in one hit. If I know that I can go and visit my shopping cart once a day, my fan page once a day, my inbox once a day, I don’t even have to remember what I’m supposed to do today. I can basically wake up, turn my computer on, and then start clicking one link, two link, three link, four link. So this is the dashboard technique. So what we’ve done is change from being reactive to pro-active. So that’s us saying I’m definitely going to say yes to these things so that I can say no to a hundred other things.

Tim: And just on the dashboard, there is a bit of a software, like Chrome and Firefox, have one of the plugins that allows you to have a dashboard on your homepage, correct?

James: Correct. Chrome does it automatically, I think—

Tim: It does.

James: And it shows you the most recent visit or the most visited. I think Safari has it for Macs. There are programs like Speed Dial that will actually show you thumbnails of the sites you visit. It’s definitely software. I actually went one step further and I actually had my designer make pretty little buttons for all of our sites with my own logos on them. And it’s just so simple. It’s the start page. But the best thing is I can use it from any computer in the world. I’ve put it online. I’ve loaded it up to the back of one of my websites so that I could just log on to it and click on the button.

Now the classic case of people, when they get overwhelmed, is when they’re using services like Facebook. Because what a lot of people do, they go and set their account to notify them when someone makes a comment, or notify them when they’re tagged in a picture. And of course, they get an email and what happens when they get an email? They click on the link and the next thing you know, they’ve spent 3 hours in Facebook, got nothing done, and the world sucks and the government’s, you know, ripping us off in taxes and too much problem, and the economy’s down and I can’t make any money and my life sucks.

So turn off notifications and you go there on your own terms. So I do that with forums, I do it with social media, I have just a clickable link on my dashboard and I click on the link when I’m ready. That’s why you can still be there, you can still be up to date, but I get very few emails coming in. This first step is a powerful time saver. And I would love people to go and comment and say, “I’m using a dashboard.” Or “The dashboard idea really helped me organize my time. I’m now saying no to more things. And the things that I’ve said yes to are far more fruitful”

Tim: It’s about getting the room ready to then decide what to say yes to, correct?

James: Well, yeah! You’re just clearing all the noise—

Tim: Clearing the table.

James: See, we’ve already said yes to so many things that we’re not even in a position where we can ask what’s the point or what should we be doing, because we’re just overwhelmed and we’re absolutely numb and paralyzed by the activities. So what I’m suggesting is before we have the yes-no filter in full force, we’ve got to go and go no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Delete, delete, delete. Eliminate, eliminate, eliminate. Remove, remove. I removed a168 gigabytes from my laptop last week. 168 gigabytes.

Tim: I thought you looked a bit light around the chin!

James: Yes! Yeah! Well, basically I’m eliminating and deleting and removing as many things as I can and I’m consolidating and refining my systems always into having the least amount of elements. I have the least extensions on my Firefox, my Chrome browser, than anyone I know. I have, you know, I’ve got one application that I use to keep notes across all my devices. I’m trying to have less. So don’t be conned into all these BS that you need this app and that app—

Tim: Oh, yeah!

James: You don’t! Actually—

Tim: Can I just…you sparked another thought, James. I’ll go back to the problem creation here before we get back into the solution. But saying yes to anything leaves unfinished in your mind, particularly if you don’t finish it. So you know, this afternoon we’re talking about, you know, even the simplest thing like going and buying another domain name. You might go and buy another domain name and you think, “Oh, it’s done. 9.99, it’s locked away, it’s my account for another year until I have to roll it over”, but you know what? It’s in your subconscious. And your subconscious is quietly tapping away at you saying, “What are you going to do with that domain? You’re going to develop it? What are you going to put on it? You’re going to get some hosting for it?”

And it’s all those things: the domain name, or that audio book that you’ve bought, or that new client that you think you might have a crack at or that internet marketing business model that you think, “Ah! Look I’ll just open up! I’ll become an affiliate for that product.” And you do, you become the affiliate. And that link sits there, and then once again you think, well the job’s done. Well, the job is not done. You need to activate that and start selling or completely get rid of it and move on and decide what it is that you’re going to focus your attention on. So getting back into solution mode, I think it’s worth really recognizing the weight that those simple, little actions put on you. And over time, all those simple little actions add up to a lot of weight, unnecessary weight. So let’s get back into solution—

James: We should’ve known it. We should have known in the beginning that when I became an affiliate marketer, affiliate programs were free and I signed up for everything. Today I listed on my whiteboard as part of my planning, you know, I’ve got a lot of websites now and I’ve got the opportunity to promote products, but I actually want to reduce down to the minimum number of affiliate networks that I can. Because, you know, it takes a lot of bandwidth to log in to CJ, Clickbank, ShareAsale, NanaCast, you know, all these different marketplaces, not to mention individual affiliate programs, because you know, to join up all these individual products, you’ve got to, not just the internet marketing space, but if you want to sell shoes, you might be doing it through Zeppo’s, you might have Amazon affiliates. There’s all these different things.

So everytime you say yes to something, even if it’s free, it’s taking a slot up in your head, you’re using up bandwidth. So try and actually make a decision. So today, I nearly registered a domain name but I didn’t, because over the last few weeks, I’ve tipped 400 extra websites into my team’s action items. And I’m now paying the price for the ambition and the opportunities I was pursuing two or three years ago. In some cases, I’m rolling around websites—some of these websites have two and a half thousand pages on them now, and we’ve got to go in and clean them up and update them and reformat the template and put new content on them and add Analytics and do all the stuff; it’s a full-time job for a small army of people. So when I said yes to that domain, I actually said yes to being committed to actually having to do something with this, or you admit defeat and say, “I didn’t really realize the point of this, so I shouldn’t have done it. I’d better just to turn it off, delete it and remove it from the system.” So for many, many listeners that will be step one.

Tim: Absolutely! Absolutely! In fact, I know this is not a domain-focused episode, but you know, it provides good examples on how I unload a domain, just like you do. And I went in about six weeks ago and still having them roll over automatically each year or every two years. I’ve actually set it to manual, so that I get the email and it says, “Do you want to roll it over?” And it just gives me the opportunity to make that decision there and then to get rid of the ones—in fact, I got rid of a whole lot of ones that I didn’t want anyway. And just so that you know, I’m lightening the load.

So let’s focus on the solution and let’s get back to the fact that we’ve got this dashboard, we’ve cleared our desk, we’ve unsubscribed through a whole lot of stuff just taking up bandwidth, and now it’s time to get focused on that one thing, that one thing that’s really, really going to help us answer the question “What’s the point?”, help us make our lifestyle, objectives, our income objectives, whatever it may be, and there’s real beauty in the number one, isn’t it James?

James: There is. Well, one is a scary as hell number for a business owner. But having a singular purpose, so I think if that’s what you mean, yes. (laughs)

Tim: Correct! Correct.

James: Tomorrow is Burger at the Café day for me. That’s where I take my wife, we go down to the beach, we get a burger and a coffee. To get there, we’re going to drive. And it occurs to me, I know the destination, I know the point, the point is I’ve got to eat, it’s lunch, it’s a nice outing, I get to have a little business brainstorm with the co-director of the empire. To get there, we’re going to have to navigate the right path. But all the way there we’re making tiny, little adjustments to the steering wheel, the whole way. If I don’t, I’ll probably run off the road. So the next step is to get the good habit as to the yes/no’s. Once you lock in the coordinates, once you know where you’re going, then it should be just habit. Anything that gets the crops in the way of it will be pushed aside, you know?
If I know that’s where I’m going and this is what I’m doing now, if someone rolls up to the front door and said, “Oh, look, you know, could we come in quote you to replace all your light bulbs to energy-efficient bulbs?” Hang on, I’ve got to eat, I’m hungry, I’m going to get my burger, I said, “Buddy, that’s awesome. When’s a good time for you to come back?” Because I’m not going to let that distract me from my true purpose. So the habit, it’s going to be a reflex reaction now. Does that fit my purpose? Does this fit the point? No? So sorry, then let’s re-schedule. Would you like me to refer you to my next door neighbor? He’s very energy conscious. (laughs) So find an alternative path for the things. If you can monetize your no’s, that is even better. I used to deal with clients one-on-one. And I don’t do that anymore. But now what I do when I get—I invariably get a lot of people coming to me asking for coaching or mentoring or support. So what I do is I recommend them to someone else and I’ll sometimes negotiate a small referral fee. And I’ll disclose that, but at least that allows me to monetize my no’s. So now I actually don’t mind the no’s coming, because I can make money from no’s and I can make money from yes’s. And that fits my point. And my point is to try and utilize opportunities, but now have to be actively involved in them.
So just a quick recap, I think it’s worth recapping. Firstly, identify that you’d probably accepted too many things than you need right now. So start saying no to some of the decisions that you’ve already accepted. And you could do that with unsubscribes, back off communications with deadbeats, go into your social media and turn off all those notifications, set yourself up a dashboard, so these are all positive improvements. Sit down and white board or brainstorm what it is you’re trying to do. What is the point? What are you trying to do? Are you trying to build a business? Are you trying to build a business that you can sell? Are you trying to start a new division? What is it that you’re trying to do? And anything that falls outside that, be prepared to say no and if you possibly have an alternative plan for them or some way to monetize it, fantastic! You know? That’s like all those racing cars, when they put the brakes on, it recharges the engine, the electricity, so that it can boost them in the straights.

You know, that’s a classic case of monetizing the no. So once you’ve identified what you’ve got to say no to, once you know your path, and once you have that reflex reaction of no, basically for most people, it’s as simple as turning your default setting from yes to your default setting to no unless you’ve got a very good reason to turn it into a yes. Just flicking that switch could be the answer.

Tim: And it also maybe, it’s not about saying no to things that are coming now and into the future. But there will be things you have on your plate now that you may just have to say no to. Existing client relationships or existing projects that you’ve got on, existing business models that you’re trying to make work, that you’ve put a lot of time into and you think, “Oh my God! How could I possibly say no to that now when I’ve already invested X dollars and X hours into it?” But you know what? Don’t look at it in the short term. Look at it in the much broader picture, in much longer term and knowing that saying no now will actually create a lot of freedom for you in the months to come.

James: That’s right. I mean, walking in the wrong direction to the watering hole is not going to get easier down the track. If you are going the wrong direction, if you are bleeding, if you’re burning cash in your business because you’ve chosen the wrong path, if you haven’t got the right customers, it’s better to cut your losses early and get back on track quickly. So this is probably going to be one of the most brutal episodes for some of our listeners, but it’s also the plain, honest truth, that a lot of people are doing the wrong things because they never really thought about what the right thing would be. And now that you think about the right thing, make it a reflex reaction to default to the right thing, all things being equal, and make it easier to turn off.

Now, there is a technique you can use if you need to push things aside. You don’t have to say no like that. You could say, “I’d rather look at that down the track. Let’s re-look at that in November or December, or whatever” You know, you don’t actually have to give a reason why, and you shouldn’t feel guilty; it’s your life, you can invest in anywhere you want. So don’t feel as though you need to be a doormat for other people, because if you don’t have strong plans for yourself, if you don’t know what you want to get, then chances are, you will fall into somebody else’s plans and guess what, they don’t have much plans for you.

Tim: Nicely put. Now James, there’s a wonderful book you put me on to, which talks about this concept. It tells a story, it shares a story. And you’re holding it out to me right now. It’s called Built to Sell. And it’s by a fellow called John Warrillow. And I’ve got to say, it’s one of the great books and it could’ve been written about you and I. It’s just amazing, you’re reading a page out of it to me today, and I was just laughing, thinking are you actually reading out of a book or are you actually just making this up and telling a story about you and I? But it’s a brilliant book.

The subtitle of the book, it’s called Built to Sell, and it talks about creating a business that can thrive without you. And in order to do that, it takes you on a journey of these two fellows and it talks a lot about this concept of what to say yes to and what to say no to. And it has a lot of brutality in there. You know, this guy, it’s based on this guy, I think his name is Alex, who runs an advertising agency. And he’s basically saying yes to everything, but it’s causing me a lot of pain. And he finds a mentor and learns to say no to a lot of things and in the end builds a pretty healthy little business. So put a link in the show notes to that book Built to Sell, because I think it’s absolutely worth understanding this principle at quite a deep level.

James: And the reason it connected is because, when we’ve actually sat down, when you’ve come and visited the lab and we talked about your exploding internet marketing business because this is all quite a wild world. What did we do, we actually wrote up on a white board. Step one was what does Tim like to do? What can Tim make good money from? And what does Tim spend his time on? We facted all of those things and in the next white board we wrote up was yes and no. And I was rather insistent, when we put the things on the yes board, and then we put the things in the no board. And we did some role plays there. Someone asks us to do this, what should we do? We say no. And if someone asks us to do this, what should we do? We say yes. And just by changing the mix, by dialing in the correct ratio yes and no, you will find your passion improves, your profit improves, and the way that you invest your time will be far more enriching. And I think it was like all that, it said don’t—

Tim: It would be so literal on about it. Have a white board with yes or no. Have your scoreboard up on the whiteboard with a column that says yes and has the things that you’re going to say yes to, and then have in the other column the things you’re going to say no to. So when the email comes in or when the phone rings, or when someone taps you in the shoulder with the next big thing, you just look at that whiteboard and say, “You know what, it’s in the no column.” Or “It’s in the yes column.” And just—

James: And tell people!

Tim: Yep! Yep! You tell them—

James: Have someone ring me during the week. And they said, “I know you don’t like to speak at multi-speaker platform events. Would you like to speak at a Richard Branson event?” And so, even the preceding part of that conversation, “I know you don’t like to speak at multi-speaker events.” So they actually know my yes-no list. So it does a lot of filtering and you shouldn’t underestimate that because people won’t even bring you opportunities or disguised opportunities if they know for a fact that’s not your thing. But they’ll certainly look out for things that they know are your thing.

Tim: And that’s exactly, that’s a great point that you make, and that’s reiterated in this book Built to Sell, which is by saying no to people, you are actually flagging to them what you say yes to. And the more clarity they can get around what it is that you say yes to, the more likelihood that they are going to push business your way.

James: `Yep. And also, I want to thank Mike Rhodes for putting me onto that book. Because he said I would like that book and I do like that book because it’s exactly how I build one of my businesses; it’s almost a copy book. So he must have known I’d get a chuckle from that. I was going to say what Eli Goldright said he’d—

Tim: Well, I know Mike Rhodes, he’s a very good fellow.

James: He’s not a bad guy. Eli Goldright said, “Don’t wish for an easy life. Wish for a rich and full life.” So we’re not saying that everything is going to be magically easy, but we are saying if you spend time on the things you’ve said yes to, but the things you’ve said yes to are the right things, you will kick some butt. That’s really a thing. And we’ll know because we will read the comments in iTunes and on the Like Freedom Ocean Fan Page on Facebook. Love to get a bit of a discussion going on episode—is this episode 18?

Tim: Episode 18. Now James, we’ve almost been going—we are growing up. We’re legal now! And we can go out and do things that we couldn’t have done when we were just episode 17. But we’re nearly on the hour. As this episode goes out, you and I have both got some pretty exciting projects that we’re about to launch to the public. This episode goes out next Monday. Really, days and times don’t mean a lot in the world of podcasting. We like to create evergreen information, correct James? However, you and I do have some exciting things coming out in the next few weeks.

So I don’t know how much you want to reveal, but it is absolutely worthwhile going to Freedomocean.com, to the listeners who haven’t done that and signing up, because you will actually be the first to find out about anything we release and anything we come across that we think is worth sharing. Plus you get the episode sent to you each time we went out, with a free copy of the transcripts. But we have some exciting things coming up, James. Do you want to just touch on it?

James: Yep! What we’re doing is we’re collating some of our best business ideas and we’re turning them into interactive events that people can be involved with and learn at the front line. Now this round, it will be my event in Queensland and I also have a couple of master classes coming, in different topics. You’ve got a master class coming, Tim.

Tim: I have, mate. And I’m incredibly excited about this. This will actually be the first time I put it out there publicly. And by next week, it’ll be right out there. But it’s a master class. It’s called The Marketing Master Class and it’s basically taking the best of the information I’ve accumulated over 20 years in the marketing business and bring together some really, really intelligent marketers who know lot more than me in particular aspects of small business marketing and put them together. It will be around an 8-week webinar series, and I honestly think, due to the caliber of both the topics we’re going to cover and the caliber of people that are going to join me on the webinar, it’ll be one of the better marketing educational going around for a long time. It’s ideal for the small business owner, the medium-sized business owner, who really wants to explore what I call the brave, new world of marketing.

So it’s not an internet marketing webinar series, that’s your domain. This is a marketing webinar series where you’re going to learn whoever comes along and joins me on the journey, they’re going to learn a lot of really, well, I guess I said the brave, new world of marketing. And that will be launched next week.

James: Pushing new frontiers. I like it. I’d love to see that growth. And you said yes to that because it ticks the boxes, doesn’t it?

Tim: It ticks the passion box, it ticks the fact that I love to share knowledge. I think if I was born again, I’d probably be a teacher. I just love sharing knowledge and sharing it in a way that can be applied in a really practical way. And it ticks the other box of the way I like to deliver it. And it also makes good use of the fact that I do make a point of surrounding myself with good people, because, you know, I don’t know everything. None of us knows everything, but you can surround yourself with good people and combined, we can share a whole other great knowledge. So it ticks a lot of boxes, James.

James: Yep! Because you said yes to the resources that are just abundant in your world, you’ve accepted good relationships and communications and now you’re able to take that to the market in a leveraged way. I love it from the way you put it together. It’s been fun discussing that. I’m sure it’s going to be awesome.

Tim: It will be, mate. And how far away is Fast Web Formula 3 from seeing the light of day? That’s in October 2011.

James: Yeah, I’d better get the invitation out.

Tim: (laughs) You’ve got to, mate! That will be coming in the next couple of weeks, so we must remind our listeners, we did say be brutal about who you delete from your inbox. I’ll leave it at that, eh? (laughs)

James: Yep. Well, you know, it should be obvious.

Tim: Correct! Correct. That’s brilliant! We’re about on the hour, so that’s been another jam-packed episode, James. It’s been an absolute pleasure swimming around the ocean with you. The odd jet ski went past without a driver. And those lady surfers, well, aren’t they just tremendous?

James: (laughs) Oh, yes they are!

Tim: God bless them! Well, mate, until episode 19 when we’ll even be bigger than we are now. Thanks for joining, thanks for sharing, and thanks listeners, and we’ll see you in the ocean. Bye for now!

James: Bye!


  1. FWF3 just went live check this out… http://lnx2.co/UJ

  2. Thanks James & Timbo, the discussion is a great lesson in how to keep it real.
    I find it helpful to always question my actions, similar to your ‘what is the point?’ method and many times i find i am doing something that is not productive and inline with my goals. I immediately stop and change course and this speeds up implementation.
    If you keep up this habit of self checking and questioning it becomes automatic and its a great technique to get things DONE!
    If you want to get out of the daily grind you have to constantly tack your sails to maintain the heading to success.

  3. Thanks J&T – another motivating episode!
    Fellow listeners, for a simple dashboard like James was talking about (without needing any ninja skills!) I use: http://myfav.es/
    Works great, cross-browser, customisable, beautiful UI etc… The only downside is that you can’t use your own icons.

  4. Hi Jame,

    I have got a few questions regarding your traffic grab course.

    1. Does the course teaches you how to rank on Youtube?

    I have been trying to rank higher for my Youtube Videos under the Youtube site’s search result but no avail. Do you have any idea how to go about ranking the videos higher apart from choosing the correct keywords and so on?

    Any input from your side will be much appreciated. Thanks.


    • Hi Edmund, Yes TrafficGrab covers video traffic and ranking videos. There is a special video on this topic and examples showing how I monetize YT videos!

  5. Hi James,

    I have bought your Traffic Grab course and I am very satisfied with it. However, I have a question though, how do you rank for your podcast site: Freedom Ocean? I can’t seem to rank for my podcast episodes on Google. Have you got any tips to share? Thanks in advance.


  6. Hey Guys…

    I found your podcast in the last month, and have catching up on all the past episodes! i did what you asked. I went to Google and searched “Freedom Ocean”.

    You are #1 – Your home page. With those cool other page links below the result.
    You are #3 – Your YouTube channel.
    You are #6 – Your Facebook page.

    I am in the State of Oregon in the USA.

    Merry Christmas!
    Eric Foster

  7. Well, I’m late to this party by 2 years. Just listened to episode 18 for the first time today. The idea of being in control of your time by having your own dashboard instead of letting other companies tell you how to spend your time online is simple yet powerful.

    Since I’m 1/2 ninja, I just made my own dashboard today with my goals and my own custom links (with thumbnails). I then set that page as my home page. This is a screenshot of (most of my) dashboard with a few personal things blurred out.

    James, why don’t you create a product where people can have their own premium dashboards… unless of course you have already created that product already?

Speak Your Mind