Pretend You're Someone Else And Make More Money

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So, earlier today I was giving someone a few tips on how she could increase her profits without much additional work or cost.

And, as I was half way through explaining one of the tips, I started thinking, "Wait a minute...why the heck am I not using this one myself?!!"

That took me back to a piece of advice I had read somewhere else, long ago. (If I'm not mistaken, I believe it was in one of Paul Myers' TalkBiz issues where I first came across it.)

Here's the technique, in a nutshell...

Step back and take a look at your business as if it's somebody else's business - and you're an outside consultant.

You'll be amazed at some of the things you start noticing that you hadn't noticed before.

Money leaks, missing pillars, whatever they are...all of it will easily help you increase your profits. Often, overnight.

Sometimes, it helps to see things with a new pair of eyes.

Even better...if you have a friend who you trust is a good marketer, put your ego aside for a little bit, and have him/her look at your overall business model.

And really listen to the advice and/or criticisms s/he offers.

Very easy to do, won't cost you a dime, and could very well create a windfall for you...or very likely, even a pay raise that continues well into the future.

Bryan
#make #money #pretend
  • Profile picture of the author Chaiwriter
    Thanks for the advice.

    You are right, we all need to take a step back and look at everything from a different perspective. Coming from a writer, it's kinda like what we call "baking." Except, you can't put your business aside for a few weeks.

    But if it's been some time since you looked at everything then it's pretty much identical.

    Thanks for that!

    Chai
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  • Profile picture of the author Bryan Kumar
    It's a similar concept, Chai.

    We're so close to our own business, and for so long, that we sometimes miss certain things, make assumptions, etc.

    All of which affects our bottomline.
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      Bryan,

      October, 2002. "Talk to Yourself for Fun and Profit."


      Paul
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      • Profile picture of the author WritingMadwoman
        Excellent advice Bryan. I recently had a similar epiphany in my own business and did a little "forehead slap" (on myself, not someone else ) and have already been taking steps to move in a new direction. After this part is done I will definitely be doing as you say and taking in the big picture to see if there are other things I could be doing to save myself time! (or make more money, whichever)

        Wendy
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      • Profile picture of the author tomw
        Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

        Bryan,

        October, 2002. "Talk to Yourself for Fun and Profit."


        Paul
        Paul,

        I wish you had an accessible archive of this stuff at Talkbiz.

        Or maybe you do and I just don't know the link?

        It isn't on the newsletter as far as I can see.

        Thomas
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  • Profile picture of the author Bryan Kumar
    LOL Cool, thanks Paul!

    Is it available online anywhere? I'd love to go read it again.
    If not, no worries. I'm sure I can find it in my email archives. Now that I have the title, keywords.

    Bryan
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      Bryan,
      Is it available online anywhere?
      It wasn't. But I think it's... Oh. Here it is...



      Talk to Yourself for Fun and Profit!

      We've all seen them.

      The brilliant marketing consultant that doesn't test their own
      campaigns. The professional remodeller with an unfinished
      basement. The accountant with sloppy records for their own
      business.

      People that do quality work for their clients, and neglect to
      do the same level of work for themselves.

      It's called "Shoemaker's Kids Syndrome." The name is based on
      a story about a shoemaker who is so busy cobbling up pairs for
      his customers that his own children go barefoot.

      I have yet to meet a single person who wasn't guilty of this
      in one way or another. There are a lot of reasons you might
      fall into this trap.

      You might be spending all your time on work for
      clients, and be tired of dealing with that specific
      thing when you're done.

      You might not find it as challenging to do for
      yourself.

      You might believe that you're so good at what you
      do that you can afford shortcuts that you'd never
      let your clients take.

      Your sense of responsibility for your clients might
      exceed the responsibility you feel for yourself.


      Any one of dozens of reasons might apply. All of them trace
      back to one central issue.

      Perspective.

      ....

      I'm certainly guilty of this myself. I once spent 36 hours
      straight working on a sales letter for a client. He got the
      material to me two weeks late, and I had 2 days to get the
      letter back to him by the deadline.

      The client certainly didn't expect me to meet the deadline
      based on their having been 2 weeks late. *I* expected me to
      meet the deadline.

      On the other hand, I've been known to leave projects of my own
      sitting unfinished, within one day's work of completion, for
      as much as a year.

      Why? The creative part was done. All that was left was
      administrivia. I HATE administrivia.

      Does any of this sound familiar?

      ....

      There's a very good chance you suffer from this problem to
      some extent yourself. You know that a thing should be done,
      you know how it should be done, and you have the ability to do
      it.

      And it's STILL not done.

      It's probably happened more than once. And gone on for much
      longer than it should.

      So. What do you do about it?

      ....

      Let's look at it from a different perspective for a moment.

      When someone comes to you with a problem that relates to your
      business, do you usually have good advice for them?
      Suggestions based on your experience, or creative ideas that
      seem certain to solve the problem for them?

      Do they usually listen to you?

      I'll bet the answer is yes.

      The reason might surprise you: They value your experience much
      more than you probably do yourself.

      Sound familiar?

      ....

      This is a common phenomenon. And, despite the vague musings of
      pop psychologists and moms everywhere, it has nothing to do
      with your self-esteem.

      It's so simple that most people never think of it: You
      acquired that expertise a tiny bit at a time, and never really
      realised just how much you were learning. To you, it's just
      "stuff you know."

      It's common sense - except that it's not common at all.

      ....

      Example: I was talking with Jason Potash the other day. Jason
      is the developer of Ezine Announcer, a desktop tool to
      automate the process of getting listed in ezine directories
      and submitting articles to publishers.

      http://www.ezineannouncer.com

      Jason spent years researching the directories and announcement
      lists that were available, writing the software, developing
      the best systems for using it, maintaining the database etc.
      To him, it's a matter of learning one bit of info at a time.

      To everyone else, it's an impressive range of hard experience.
      And it resulted in the only tool of its kind that's currently
      available.

      He was surprised when I mentioned that he was the world's
      leading expert in his field, and one of the top experts in the
      newsletter promotion game.

      He was surprised because becoming a "leading expert" wasn't
      his goal. His goal was to create the best piece of software
      possible to get things done.

      He was doing stuff, and became an expert along the way, as
      sort of a by-product. He just didn't realise it.

      Sound familiar?

      ....

      Expert status is a matter of two things:

      1. Doing stuff until you're good enough that people
      will pay you to do it for them, or tell them how
      to do it - *because you get results* - and...

      2. Accepting the fact that being an expert isn't a
      mystical thing, reserved for super-genius types.
      Fight it if you like, but if you meet the first
      criteria, you're probably an expert.

      It's interesting to me just how many people that truly are
      experts don't know it. And how many who call themselves
      experts don't know beans.

      But that's another article.

      ....

      You are probably something of an expert in your field. If
      people ask you for advice, act on it, and get results, it's a
      definite "Yeah."

      So, if they take your advice... why shouldn't you?

      Who knows your business, your style, your methods and your
      goals better than you do?

      Why not ask yourself for solutions to your problems?

      ....

      Yes, I mean literally ask yourself. Out loud.

      Talk to yourself.

      Now, many of you may be thinking that I've lost my mind. Or
      that others will believe you have if you follow this advice.

      I am not suggesting that you do this in an airport, or the
      lobby of your favorite restaurant. That will just make people
      think you're either poor and psychotic or rich and eccentric.

      Depending on your wardrobe.

      ....

      Let's take this one step at a time.

      First, write up a description of the business situation you
      want to address. If you're doing okay and are looking for some
      breakthroughs to help you boost things to the next level,
      write a brief description of your overall situation.

      Be as specific as you think you'd need to be to prepare a
      consultant to help you. No more, no less.

      Next to each section, write down the questions you want to get
      answers for.

      When you're done, sign it. With someone else's name.

      No, I have NOT lost my mind.

      Just play along with me here.

      ....

      Now set that aside for a day or so.

      When you're ready to get back to it, set up a tape recorder,
      and make sure you'll have at least an hour of uninterrupted
      time.

      No phone calls. No email. No kids barging in. Just you and the
      person you're pretending to talk to.

      ....

      Read over the summary you've prepared, as though it came from
      a complete stranger who called you for help. You want to
      develop the mindset that you have no personal investment in
      these issues at all.

      No stress. It's just conversation.

      Turn on the tape recorder.

      Take your time, and answer each question one at a time. If you
      feel you'd need more information to answer it, just make a
      note of that and go on.

      Brainstorm. Play. Make jokes. Toss around ideas like they were
      just that - ideas.

      After all, the person you're talking to doesn't have to use
      any of them, right?

      ....

      Don't shy away from the big questions. Treat them as an
      intellectual exercise. A challenge.

      And don't rush. If you don't get through the whole set of
      questions in the first session, that's okay. Do them later.

      The key here is to be thorough.

      When you're done, put away the tape recorder for a day or so.
      Then go back and listen to it, taking notes as you go.

      Now is when you evaluate the ideas. List the good ones, and
      the ones that might be good, and start to develop an outline
      for making them happen.

      You'll be surprised at what you come up with.

      ....

      It DOES work.

      There are a lot of reasons for it, but explaining them in
      depth in an article like this would be like answering the
      question "What time is it?" by explaining how a watch works.

      For those who are interested, they boil down (a lot) to two
      main concepts:

      1. If you remove the personal stress from the
      "discussion," you free up your creative channels
      to show off, and

      2. By talking it out, you externalise the issues.
      You can view them in a more objective fashion,
      thus eliminating a lot of the fear factor, which
      is generally the result of negative imagination.

      A third factor applies to only a few people, but for them it
      can be critical: some people simply learn best when they hear
      things.

      Enough of the psychology.

      ....

      If there were questions you didn't get to, do another session,
      and keep doing them until you have the answers you need.

      Then comes the tough part. Follow-through.

      Well, it seems tough, anyway. What you actually need to do is
      easy:

      Break down the steps you have to complete into mini-steps,
      until each one is something that can be done in a relatively
      short period of time.

      Then simply make it a point to do at least one of those
      mini-steps each day. If you make them small enough, that won't
      be a challenge.

      The interesting thing is what happens after a couple of weeks
      of doing them on a regular basis. You start to get excited
      about your progress, and find yourself doing more than one a
      day.

      You'll actually get excited about crossing each of those steps
      off your list.

      Before you know it, you've accomplished what you set out to
      do.

      All because you were smart enough to take the advice of an
      expert.

      You.

      ....

      As you do this more and more often, you'll find that it
      becomes easier. You'll develop a tendency to talk things out
      as they come up.

      And you'll dramatically reduce the amount that you
      short-change yourself and your business.

      After all, maybe there's a reason for the old cliche about the
      rich talking to themselves.

      Ya think maybe?


      Paul
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      • Profile picture of the author TimGross
        Paul, that article of yours always stuck in my head and I've followed its advice multiple times, excellent.

        I'd actually forgotten you wrote it, I was thinking it was Dan Kennedy. Good stuff.
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        • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
          Tim,
          I was thinking it was Dan Kennedy. Good stuff.
          Okay. There are worse people to be confused with.

          Glad it was helpful.


          Paul
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        • Profile picture of the author ExRat
          Hi Bryan,

          Great example of how to write a compelling thread title, that draws people in through curiosity, puts a little twist on the theme, but also (most important) delivers quality in the post and DOESN'T leave the reader feeling misled or short-changed.

          Bravo
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          Roger Davis

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  • Profile picture of the author jcoolbaugh
    BIG thanks to both Bryan AND Paul for that advice. God knows I am sooooo guilty of getting so caught up in my clients' stuff, that I completely forget to use the same things I'm telling them to do on my own sites :p

    Thanks for the reminder!
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  • Profile picture of the author Bryan Kumar
    Wendy, yeah, sometimes that slap is needed.

    Jessalynn, I suppose that's why they say that you can learn a lot by teaching others, right?

    I actually pride myself in trying to cut the fat, streamline, simplify, optimize, maximize, etc. as much as possible. And if I can still spot things occasionally that I could do better, than I know the average businessperson can find lots of stuff that went unnoticed.

    Besides, there's always room for improvement, right?
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  • Profile picture of the author mattpaul2000
    Great advice. Something I am needed to do ojectively for the website in my signature. Its a case of good product but needs work on the sales page.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      Paul - Excellent! And good on bryan for starting this thread.

      I've been playing around with this "other person's" thingie this evening and already I've discovered loads of administrivia (great word) that I need to plan out and start on tomorrow.

      Amazing how simple and clear things can be when you look from the outside in.

      kay
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      • Profile picture of the author jerbol
        A while back I read a thing about emulating people that are successful in what you want to succeed in. And I remember thinking to myself "what would he do, or what would he think" and then trying to adapt myself to it. I found myself wasting to much thinking power on these internal conversations and realized that I knew my subject/role model well enough that I could impulsively do or think like they would without all the dialogue.
        In a sense "pretend" to be that person.
        At that moment it was so much easier, and my business benefited greatly. It was like I added 10 years of experience to my arsenal and it greatly boosted my confidence.

        Thank you for the reminder of this excellent technique.

        ,Jerry
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  • Profile picture of the author GuruGazette
    Great stuff as always Paul. That's one I don't think I've come across before now.

    Funny how things seem to drop into place as you need them though. For the past several months I've been planning and brainstorming some big changes coming into my life this year, and sometimes I feel like my thoughts are all just jumbled, confusing and conflicting. So I've found myself getting annoyed at the mental mess, taking a deep breath, and then just talking to myself out loud.

    I've been doing it off and on either when warming the truck up or driving back from dropping my daughter off at school in the mornings and it's been a great way to get the thoughts more organized and focused.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Wisley
    Bryan

    Good reminder. I heard Brian Tracy recommend something very similar. He suggested taking a seat on the other side of your work space and act as if you were there to examine a project you were considering. It gives a completely different perspective.

    But, we often forget to stop and think. Very hard thing for us human kinds. I am sure we would all make a lot of better decisions if we would put this into practice before we rush into a new venture.

    Thanks for the post.
    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author Tom B
      Banned
      I pretended to be Paul Myers but the amount of beer and darts really hurt my head in the morning. In fact, I ended up losing money. That hat was a little hot as well.
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      • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
        I pretended to be Paul Myers but the amount of beer and darts really hurt my head in the morning. In fact, I ended up losing money. That hat was a little hot as well.
        Ya big wuss.


        Paul

        PS: I play more pool than darts lately. Just so you know how to properly get into the role.
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        • Profile picture of the author Tom B
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          Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

          Ya big wuss.


          Paul

          PS: I play more pool than darts lately. Just so you know how to properly get into the role.
          I think the problem was no hair. Every time I looked down the damn hat would fall off.

          Darts got me through college. I wouldn't have been able to drink nearly as much if it wasn't for betting at a couple bars at school.

          I just got my wife into pool. Not 8 ball but she is still loving it.

          Sorry for the thread detour.
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          • Profile picture of the author sevenish
            Originally Posted by Thomas Belknap View Post

            I think the problem was no hair. Every time I looked down the damn hat would fall off.
            I wonder why the billiard metaphors seem to swarm around Thomas "Cueball" Belknap, hmmm?
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            • Profile picture of the author Tom B
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              Originally Posted by sevenish View Post

              I wonder why the billiard metaphors seem to swarm around Thomas "Cueball" Belknap, hmmm?
              If that isn't enough, my wife tried to chalk up my head last time we played.

              If I was smart enough I would have a complex. Luckily I am now pretending to be Riley to avoid that problem. hehe
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              • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
                Thomas,
                If that isn't enough, my wife tried to chalk up my head last time we played.
                It's the point that confused her.


                Paul
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                • Profile picture of the author Tom B
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                  Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

                  Thomas,It's the point that confused her.


                  Paul

                  Lets not talk about what happens in the bedroom Mr. Myers.
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                  • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
                    Thomas,
                    Lets not talk about what happens in the bedroom Mr. Myers.
                    Okay. I'll keep those videos of you and Riley's prize hamster secre... err... Ummm.

                    [click]
                    [lost carrier]
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  • Profile picture of the author Alice Seba
    I like the advice in this thread (from Paul and with Bryan's perspective)...thank you! It is funny how it works when you really take a step back and look at things.

    When I read the title of the thread, I was expecting something different that might also be helpful to people relating to self-confidence.

    A few years ago, I was rather puzzled why I sold affiliate products really well, but didn't sell much of my own stuff. It took just a bit of thinking to realize that I was too shy / afraid / lacked confidence to sell stuff or to toot my own horn. I often didn't mention my products, but expected my readers to find them OR I did half-hearted promotions. It was a bizarre thing, but over the years I came to realize it's not that uncommon for a lot of people. We second guess ourselves and wonder if our products are good enough, etc.

    It took me stepping back and approaching my own products as though I were someone else. No not anything weird like talking about myself in the 3rd person, but being confident enough to tell my readers about my products and give my promotions the oomph I gave to other people's products.

    Fast forward and I do fewer and fewer affiliate promotions - and focus on selling my own stuff every day. I like this better!

    Alice
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  • Profile picture of the author sevenish
    Many days I listen to what comes out of my mouth as advice to clients that I've not "gotten around" to doing for my own business. Honestly, I would never be so slovenly about client work as I am in some areas of my own.

    Thanks for the reminder Bryan and Paul.
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  • Profile picture of the author mscole1031
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    • Profile picture of the author Anup Mahajan
      Excellent Post Bryan & Paul...

      Regards,
      Anup
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    • Profile picture of the author richard92780
      Thank you for the helpful information guys.
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  • Profile picture of the author Writing Pete
    Good advice Bryan. Ideas like this that pop up and surprise you can sometimes have a profound impact on your business. Looks like you found a good one!
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