BooK Review – Powerful Focus: A 7-Day Plan To Develop Mental Clarity And Build Strong Focus By THIBAUT MEURISSE

Powerful FocusAccording to Thibaut Merisse:

The ability to focus is one of the most valuble assets you’ll ever develop. When you use it to achieve your most exciting goals, you can reach levels of success you would never have imagined possible.

If you are the type of person that keeps jumping from one task to the next. Or you struggle to stay focused long enough to achieve success. Or maybe your mind is all over the place. Then this book will help you to do things such as:

  • eliminte distractions and develop focus
  • stop jumping from one shiny object to another
  • gain clarity about your goals and focus on what matters

Why is focus important? Thibaut writes that:

Often, the difference between an average person and a highly successful one is their level of focus. Successful people know what they want and place all their focus into the accomplishment of their goals. By doing so consistently over a long period of time, they turbocharge their productivity and achieve most of their goals.

The book has 7 key steps themed as actions you can take in 7 days.

This book is divided into two parts.

Part 1 titled Clarity Deals with the first four steps discussed in the book. In this section we are presented with information to help us refine our vision. The steps are:

  • Day 1 – 15 questions to identify what you want
  • Day 2 – Gaining clarity regarding what you want
  • Day 3 – Gaining clarity regarding what needs to be done
  • Day 4 – Gaining clarity regarding how it needs to be done

Part 2 is titled, Eliminating Distractions and Obstacles. This section of the book focuses on helping you discover how to remove all the distractions around you and develop better focus. The section  has the remianing three steps and they are:

  • Day 5 – Simplifying
  • Day 6 – Reducing useless inmput
  • Day 7 – Eliminating friction and energy waste

Following are six quick lessons for you from the book:

  1. Do you want to gain more clarify and refine your life’s vision? Here are six questions you should ask yourself:
    1. What do you really, really want?
    2. If you were to wake up tomorrow, completely alone without any family member, or friend, or colleague to influence your decisions, what would you do differently?
    3. If you were to be totally honest with yourself, what would you start doing now and what would you stop doing?
    4. If you were guaranteed to succeed in everything you do, where would you want to be in three years?
    5. If you could spend your day exactly the way you wanted to, what would you be doing from morning to night? What would your ideal day consist of?
    6. If you could focus only on doing one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  2. If you have written down your goals, how do you know that they are what you really want? A simple framework to identify whether you are doing the right thing is the love-based vs fear-based model. At anytime we are either acting out of fear or love. Acting out of love focuses you on giving and acting out of fear is about getting. Love-based goals tend to be fulifing goals which communicate that we have enough and we are happy to contribute to the world. Fear-based goals are an attempt to get validation from the external world and tend to make poor goals. Check your goals, are they fear or love-based? Are they about getting or giving? Your focus should be on love-based goals.
  3. Are you doing what you should be doing today? Here’s a question for you – if I keep doing what I’m doing today, this week or this month, am I likely to achieve my goals? If your answer is no for too many days then you need to do something to change the situation.
  4. Are you constantly distracted? If so, you need to practice ruthless elimination and one way to do that is through zero-based thinking. This is the practice of asking yourself this key question – knowing what I know now, would I choose to start that activity today? Here are some examples of how you can use the question by applying them to various aspects of your life:
    1. knowing what I know now, would I still start this project?
    2. Knowing what I know now, would I still join that group?
    3. Knowing what I know now, would I still create that product or service?
  5. How do you reduce useless input? How do you stop yourself from absorbing useless information? You may need to avoid information overload and here are some steps to do that:
    1. First determine exactly what it is you want or need to learn. That will help you search for information in the right places, identify the right people to get information from and decide the exact amount of information to consume.
    2. Reverse your learning to-to-action ratio. In other words stop spending so much time consuming information and very little time acting on the information you consume. You should act more than you consume. Take a step back and honestly assess your learning vs action ratio and challenge yourself to take action towards your goals rather than just reading about them.
  6. Eliminate anything that wastes your energy and prevents you from focusing on your goals. When you constantly experience friction that holds you back from acting, you waste energy and end up not achieving what you set out to achieve. Here are some steps to eliminate friction and waste:
    1. Turn off things that can distract you such as wifi and your phone.
    2. Implement a daily routine that can put you in a more productive mindset. For some people that can be listening to a specific type of music or doing exercise.
    3. Work on your goals early in the morning before you do anything else.
    4. Be clear about your daily priorities. Have a plan, otherwise your mind will trick you into doing time wasting activities.

This is a book with a lot of simple but practical tips to help you focus better. Even if you don’t read the whole book, you will learn something from it that can improve your ability to focus.

Business Insights From Play Nice But Win by Michael Dell #2

TO GROW BE CURIOUS

Play Nice But WinMichael’s first computer was the Apple II. It had cost a fortune at $1298 which he paid for out of his savings. When the computer was delivered by UPS, his dad drove him to pick it up at a local warehouse where it was held up.

When Michael got home with the computer, he did something almost unbelievable considering it’s steep price. He took it to his bedroom, unboxed it and then took the computer about. Not surprisingly, his parents were furious.

Michael’s rationale for doing that? How could you understand the computer if you didn’t take it apart? By taking the computer apart Michael got to understand it’s open architecture and other things you could do with the computer such as reprograming it.

This obviously wasn’t the first time Michael was taking things apart and it would not be the last. That process of taking things apart and seeking to understand what they could do helped him develop a deeper understanding of how computers work and what you could do with them. Hence, he was able to start a very profitable business at a young age taking IBM computers apart, customising them to make them more efficient and selling them. This of course was the foundation of Dell as a business.

Michael’s strategy at that time was to customise existing computers and sell them directly to people and it became the foundational strategy for which Dell Computers became known by selling directly to consumers instead of selling through retail stores.

Michael’s curiosity helped him to learn things that others could not learn and build products that were highly profitable.

PERSONAL LESSONS

  • Curiosity is a key learning behaviour. It will cause you to ask questions, try different things and sometimes take risks with the aim of further developing your understanding of the way things work. By being curious you are guaranteed to keep moving forward because you will keep learning. Lack of curiosity will keep you stuck and stagnant.
  • No matter how old you are, don’t lose your curiosity. Keep asking, keeping taking things apart and keep learning.
  • Use your curiosity to understand things better so you can build new products and better services. If you see things the same way all the time, you will keep on producing the same things. But if you seek to see things differently, you will produce different things.

Business Insights From Play Nice But Win by Michael Dell #1

Play Nice But WinThe book I am currently learning from is the latest business autobiography from Michael Dell the founder of Dell Computers. The book is titled Play Nice But Win and was published in October 2021. Michael Dell is one of those understated yet successful technology entrepreneurs who has managed to weather the storm of running a technology company with a decreasing market share. Dell started out as a direct-to-customer personal computer company and with the advent of tablets and other mobile devices, many forecasted the demise of company. While the company is less prominent, it survived and is still thriving.

In this book Micheal tells us a bit about his own personal story by giving some insights into his childhood and family (not much) and also how he started Dell. He then goes on to write about what he did to make sure that Dell as a company did not die, which involved taking the company private from being a public company and taking it public again.

Over the next couple of weeks as I read the book, I will share with you some of the insights I am getting from it and below is my first lesson.

THAT’S A LOT OF CASH!

Michael was 17 when he decided to buy a brand-new BMW 320i for over $15,000. So, his parents followed him to the car dealer for back-up. After agreeing on the car to buy, the dealer looked towards Michael’s parents to pay but they didn’t. It was Michael who paid with a $15,000 plus cashier’s cheque and the rest with a lot of cash. His parents had not contributed a single penny to the car. Yet Michael had paid for it without any credit card or loan debt. How does a 17-year-old pay for a car that expensive. Where did he get all that money from? To answer that question, let’s meet Michael. Continue reading

Book Review – The She Approach To Starting A Money-Making Blog By Ana Skyes

The She Approach To Starting A Money-Making Blog (2021 Edition): Everything You Need To Know To Create A Website And Make Money Blogging by [Ana Skyes]The She Approach To Starting A Money-Making Blog by Ana Skyes presents a sincere approach to creating a blog that can generate income. Ana wrote the book based on her own personal experience and this is not one of those books that promises you immense blog wealth by the end of the month. It goes into detail about the hard work and effort that goes into creating a successful money-making blog.

Ana went from making $0 in 2016 to $62,048 in 2020, quite a journey and she shares with us how she did it in this book. The book is divided into three parts and each part consists of a number of sections. Following is a brief review of each part of the book.

PART 1 – CHAPTER 1: SETTING UP YOUR FOUNDATION

Introduction: introduces what you will have learnt after reading this part of the book.

Knowing your why: Ana starts this section with a very important question, why do you want to start a blog. She believes having a clear reason for your blog will make you more likely to follow through with things, believe in the work you do, be determined, consistent and create an awesome blog.

Finding your blogging niche: Once you know the ‘why’ for your blog then it’s time to think about what your blog will do for others. What Ana means by this is that, you will need to identify a niche for your blog. According to Ana:

A blogging niche is simply a way to describe the topics you blog about and a way to categorize your blog according to the relevant industry.

This section goes into detail on how to discover your blog’s niche and it answers some important questions along the way which include:

  • Do you really need a well defined blog niche?
  • How much do you need to niche down?
  • What blog niches earn the most money?
  • What blogs can’t be monetized?

Identifying your target audience: If you have identified your blog’s niche then you should have an audience in mind that your blog is aimed at. Ana writes that:

We have already established that if you want to start a money-making blog, you have to solve a problem for a specific group of people. It doesnt have to be anything life-changing but, ideally it needs to be something that people are willing to pay money to make go away, fix or improve.

So, this chapter is all about identifying your blog’s audience.

Naming your blog: In this section you will read about actions you can take to give your blog a befitting name. Here’s some advice from Ana about naming your blog:

Ideally, you want the name to reflect your blog’s purpose, speak to your target audience and allow you to cover all the topics you’re planning to write about in the future.

Coming up with a tagline: Ana starts this section by reminding us what we should already know about creating a blog if we have read the book up to this point which are:

  • Why you want to start your blog
  • Whom you want to help with your blog
  • Your blog niche and main topics of discussion
  • What type of content you want to publish
  • What you’re going to name it

Here she writes about how to come up with a short mission statement which she calls a tagline. According to her:

To help tie everything together and give you a sense of direction, you need to come up with a short mission statement, also known as a tagline. These are used to explain what your blog is all about and help your target audience connect with you straight away.

She shares her tagline with us which she recently changed from ‘Empowering women to build digital empires‘ to ‘Helping bloggers increase their traffic and income‘. She did this to make it clearer and to better describe what she provides for her audience.

PART 2 – CHAPTER 2: SETTING UP YOUR WEBSITE

This part of the book concentrates on the more technical aspects of setting up a website for the blog. At the start Ana advises us not to build our blog on a free platform. With that out of the way she concentrates on showing us how to:

  • buy blog hosting
  • set up a wordpress blog
  • get advanced wordpress help
  • create blog pages, posts and content

She also shares other blogging tips for beginners which cover areas such as:

  • using social media
  • branding
  • using google analytics
  • starting an email list

PART 3: CHAPTER 3: HOW TO MAKE MONEY BLOGGING

The first two parts focused on defining a blog vision, identifying an audience and building the blog website. In this part Ana focuses on how to make money blogging and she covers a number of ways to earn income from a blog which include:

  • adverts
  • affiliate marketing
  • selling digital products
  • sponsored posts
  • selling services
  • selling physical products
  • offer print-on demand products
  • sell your blog for profit
  • host a virtual summit or create a membership
  • sell ad space
  • become a ghorst writer for other bloggers or publications
  • sell on Amazon FBA

The last part of the book before the conclusion focuses on how to form a blog monetization strategy. I have written more on this below as my key lesson from the book.

This is a book that gives you a good overview of how to start a blog as an income source. It is particularly good for those who want to start a blog and at the same time it has some lessons for existing bloggers too.

Following are my key lesson from the book on how to create a blog monetization strategy. I have summarized the lesson as a series of steps.

  1. Have a good knowledge of all the possible ways you can make money through blogging.
  2. Choose one monetization method to start with. Ana suggests that if you are just starting out begin with affiliate marketing and creating a digital product.
  3. Look at how other successful bloggers in your niche are doing things and learn from them.
  4. Don’t be quick to give up, continue working on it. Ana had to work for four months before making her first affiliate sale and it was for $7.
  5. Make a clear plan of how much you want to earn and how to earn it.
  6. Keep track of everything you earn from your blog.