What happens when you create a venn diagram that combines discovering your passion with providing unique value and figuring out where your audience is listening? In this podcast, Rand Fishkin, founder and CEO of Moz, believes that is how you find your sweet spot.
As with most entrepreneurs, Fishkin knows a little bit about how failure can eventually inspire success. After dropping out of college in 2001, he began working with his mom at an agency where they offered clients web design and marketing solutions. However, they began drowning in debt, amassing over $500,000 from overhead expenses. In 2004, he started a blog called SEO Moz. “I spent four hours a day writing blogs. For the first year, it wasn’t really attracting anyone or resonating with a particular audience,” Fishkin recalls.
But after a year of publishing blogs five days per week, eventually the audience came: SEO Moz (renamed Moz) became a credible source of information about the newest marketing phase - search engine . In fact, the blog became so successful that in 2007, he was able to pay off his debt. While discovering his sweet spot took some time, Fishkin notes, “I have not seen someone in the content marketing world where someone was automatically a massive success.
The founder of Buzzfeed had over 11 years of publishing experience before it became what it is today. It’s all about shifting your passions to an area where you can provide unique value.” Additionally, he notes that entrepreneurs should keep their ear to the ground to find where their audience is to avoid choosing the right platform to promote their service or product.
As a public figure and thought leader, Fishkin has a few nuggets for entrepreneurs. First, they must be willing to learn, adapt and change for their audience. Additionally, it’s key to experiment with new platforms without over investing in them, in order to continue to grow and learn. Find out more words of wisdom by clicking the link !
Is there a formula for success? This week’s Paper Napkin Wisdom guest, Geoff Smart - CEO of lead consulting firm ghSMART - proposes just that . Dr. Smart, the best selling author of Who: The A Method for Hiring and the newly released Power Score: Your Formula for Leadership Success, holds a PhD in Psychology and has spent the last twenty years collecting and synthesizing data from over 3000 leaders and their teams.
While most books on leadership suggest that most prominent trait of successful leaders is honesty, Dr. Smart discovered that this wasn’t necessarily a special trait, and that most people (successful or unsuccessful) rated themselves highly in this category.
The Power Score (P x W x R) takes a look at the empirical data surrounding common traits of leaders and proposes that if teams are good at prioritizing, hiring the right people and building the right relationships, they are twenty times more likely to be successful than if they don’t have these traits. The concept was birthed by his publisher, who suggested that Dr. Smart take a more holistic approach to his new book as opposed to just providing tips on hiring as he had for his previous work “Who”. “The formula is multiplicative,” Dr. Smart explains, and akin to an athlete performing in a triathlon -- he or she must be good at all three in order to be successful.
The “P” stands for prioritizing and refers to the need for leaders and their teams to be equally plugged into the top goals and objectives of the organization. According to Dr. Smart, only 24 percent of leaders in the sample were good at prioritizing, while 90 percent said they had too many priorities. Working collaboratively to establish goals and a step-by-step process to achieve them is crucial to the success of any team.
The next letter in the equation, “W”, stands for Who. This value represents the team members themselves and evaluates whether they are all-stars or average from the beginning of the hiring process. To dig a bit deeper, Dr. Smart suggests asking the following questions prior to hiring a new team member:
Because the majority of managers worldwide only have around a 50% retention rate for the staff they hire, these questions are pertinent in order to ensure the new hire will bring value to their new team.
Finally, “R” stands for relationships. “Simply stated,” Dr. Smart explains, the right people need to be talking at the right time.
Check out the latest podcast and Dr. Smart’s new book to learn more about the formula for success!
Two years ago Rob Simons challenged me to by flipping around the Paper Napkin Wisdom podcast and turning me into the subject and he’d play the interviewer. To launch season 4, he came back to turn the tables once more by interviewing me in today’s podcast. I’ve been thinking a lot since the release of my book, “Your Five Step Plan For Life and Business Success”. As business owners and entrepreneurs, many times we worry about reaching our highest potential, often because we don’t think we are good enough. Thus, my paper napkin for today reads “Make it bad, then make it better. But make it.”
This initially came to me when I created the first draft of my most recent book. I produced it before a keynote I did, and it was just my thoughts on paper. My friend and organizer of the event gave me one requirement in order to speak: they wanted me to give away 100 copies of my book. Having that first draft provided me with the opportunity to improve upon the product.
Let’s go back even further.
In 2009, my personal and professional life was eroding and I was looking for a magic wand to wave over everything. While I didn’t find the wand, I did find something better. And in 2013, I launched Paper Napkin Wisdom. At the beginning, I had no clue what I was doing. It took me almost a year to get the first paper napkin and I recorded everything with $19 equipment. However, while it wasn’t perfect, the conversations we had were still riveting. After doing a few hundred podcasts, of course it improved. Once the process got going, I did 70 podcasts in three months and collected nearly 100 paper napkins. Throughout this process of creating the podcast, I discovered ways to make it better. For starters, being genuine curiosity ended up being the key to great podcasts interviews. Over-preparing took away a part of the authenticity of the podcast. But I had to do it first in order to improve upon it.
“So, Govindh,” you may ask, “how do you go from having a goal to doing it and making it better?” The answer for that lies within the first napkin I ever had on the show, which read, “If you want to learn and grow, you have to do what scares you and do it in public.”
I’ve interviewed hundreds of people over the years and came upon a revelation: many people who achieve great success only do it once or twice in their lives. Because of this, they often unintentionally overlook the process that enabled them to achieve these successes. In Your Five Step Plan, I highlight the commonalities I’ve discovered after talking to the most brilliant minds over the last few years.
I often see time and deadlines becoming barricades to entrepreneurs starting on a specific goal. While timelines are important, they shouldn’t be used to be hard on yourself. As a career coach, Rob encourages entrepreneurs to learn from their process, even if deadlines need to be adjusted.
One of the big challenges I had in the past was not having a subsequent goal after achieving a big milestone. However, in 2016, my biggest goal is to get this book into your hands in an effort to “save an entrepreneur, and save the world”. I want to inspire each and every one of you to take your ideas and your business further, faster.
Are you ready to embark on this journey?
Listen to the whole conversation:
Shep Hyken is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, a grass roots entrepreneur, and a speaker. He’s a busy guy but he’s focused in a way that makes him effective and efficient.
He’s already been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Speakers Association, an incredible feat considering he’s still amazing crowds around the world on the subject of consistently delivering Amazing Customer Service.
In his Paper Napkin Wisdom, Shep shares with us a simple yet profound message. He says: “On successful people (and those that aren’t). Those that do, do. Those that don’t won’t!”
The first time Shep heard the above phrase, the last word was “don’t” rather than “won’t” but there’s a big difference between the two words and Shep believes his spin on it to be more accurate. “Won’t” conveys that we’re stopping ourselves, which is precisely what Shep thinks happens. He believes that some people hold back because they don’t see the bigger picture or don’t look for the positive strategic byproducts that happen as a result of doing new, different things and trying all kinds of different angels. In some cases, he says, there’s something subconscious that keeps people from doing things or it’s simply that they don’t like to try a little bit harder or work a little bit harder. It’s unfortunate, because a little bit of extra effort can make all the difference.
“Someone once told me it doesn’t take much more to go first class,” says Shep. Putting in that little bit of extra effort or that little bit of extra work can make all the difference in an experience and he says it’s what makes an experience memorable. It’s an element that Shep applies to every business relationship he has, but he’s careful not to over commit. He’s learned that in order to be successful and grow you have to say ‘no’ and delegate tasks. Delegating tasks allows Shep to do what he calls staying in his lane: he knows what he’s really good at and he stays focused on doing that. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t expand his efforts or that he doesn’t keep an eye out for new opportunities, but it does means that he evaluates potential ventures in terms of how congruent they are with what he does in addition to assessing how much time and money it will cost him.
Shep says that part of success is identifying the things that you’ve done in the past that worked for you and trying to repeat them. He advises taking a look at what you’ve done from the beginning of your business to what you’ve done now and find the milestone moments, the moments that really made a positive impact in your business. Are there things that have worked for you in the past that you don’t do anymore? Shep says that our attention too often gets siphoned off into the some activity that gets in the way of us doing what’s always worked best. If we take the time to repeat things that have worked for us in the past instead of constantly innovating, we not only save ourselves time, we give ourselves the opportunity to see what strategic byproducts might be right in front of us.
“Things are going to happen that you’re going go ‘ooh, that’s a great idea.”
A strategic byproduct is an opportunity that arises as a result of some sort of current situation.”Along the way things are going to happen that you’re going to go ‘ooh, that’s a great idea.'” says Shep. He shares the example of how, when his speaking business was lagging due to the fear surrounding air travel in the wake of 9/11, a client mentioned how he wished Shep had content he could bring to the company. Considering what his client had said, Shep reworked his content into a training format and did just that. Recently, he’s even noticed that his income from training has begun to surpass that of his speaking engagements.
Shep has a really simple approach to getting stuff done, he just does it. By delegating the things that would otherwise distract him from staying in his lane, and putting in that little bit of extra effort, Shep is able to keep a sharp eye out for opportunity and move his business in the right direction. It’s a method that’s lead him to great success, where might it lead you?