Make The Business Of Influence Work For You

July 28, 2008

The power of mass influence never ceases to amaze me. Some people will do absolutely anything if everyone else seems to be doing it.

Check out this video on Barbara Ling’s blog
and discover how many people were easily persuaded to sign a petition to ban water.

So Just How Easy It To Influence Thousands Of People?

50,456,002 people voted for George Bush in the 2000 Presidential Election.
Millions of people signed up to Hotmail.
Amway has recruited enough people to make their owners multi-millionaires.
Facebook has around 75 million members.

As Ari Herzog explains in this article, a major part of friendship is the desire to know what the other person is doing. This goes a long way toward explaining why social networking is so popular. But it doesn’t explain how so many people were persuaded to join Amway, or Avon etc. So, I’m guessing there must be other factors involved too.

Why do you think people are so easily influenced by what others are saying and doing? How could you use this to your advantage in business? Please discuss your thoughts and ideas in the comments section.

Image Credit: Snap

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The Pros And Cons Of Outsourcing Your Life

May 2, 2008

Image by Re-ality.

Outsourcing isn’t just for business. In fact, outsourcing many areas of your personal life is going to become increasingly popular over the next decade, because thousands of people are tired of working long hours, only to waste even more time doing personal chores when they get home.

Gift Buying

To me, shopping has to be one of the most mind numbing chores. And even shopping on the Internet still wastes a heap of time. If you feel the same way, you could outsource the purchasing of gifts for friends and loved ones - especially at Christmas. Personally, I would go a step further and outsource the gift wrapping too.

Pros: Saves time.
Saves forgetting and upsetting loved ones.

Cons: Your shopper may buy something that sucks, offends, or causes an allergic reaction.
You could be in trouble if a recipient asks questions about the gift.
Means entrusting your credit/debit card details to your shopper.


You can spend hours researching something you want to learn, only to find a couple of pieces of useful information among piles of crap. Why not save yourself some time, by outsourcing some of your learning?

Pros: Saves time.
You can get the researcher to make notes of the key points, meaning you don’t need to read the rest.

Cons: Could be costly if the researcher struggles to find what they’re looking for.
The information may not be accurate, depending upon what sources they use.

Vacation Planning

Some people spend more time researching their vacation than they spend planning any other aspect of their life. This is fine if you enjoy it and you have the time. If not, you could outsource all the planning and booking of your vacation.

Pros:Saves time - you just need to turn up.

Cons: You’re relying on the tastes of someone else to choose what is best for you.
They may not necessarily get you a great deal.
Vacations aren’t always as enjoyable if you don’t get involved in the planning process.

Cooking and Shopping

Cooking and shopping can easily eat into several hours of your life per week. Plus, if you finish work late, your family could be passing out with hunger by the time you’ve prepared the evening meal. So it may be worth outsourcing it.

Saves time.
You can relax when you finish work.

Unless you’re not fussy about what you eat, you’ll still spend time putting shopping lists and menus together.
Your shopper may not be as fussy as you would be about freshness and quality of food.


Housework and laundry can be a pain - especially if you’ve been working all day and you have kids. Outsourcing could be a big time saver.

Heaps of time saved.
Your house is always tidy.

Losing things. Cleaners have a habit of putting things back in the wrong place.
Trust is a big issue - not just with regard to theft, but confidentiality too.
It’s difficult and noisy to have someone cleaning and hoovering your house if you work from home.

Do you outsource any of these areas of your life, or do you plan to in the future? Can you think of any other things you could outsource to free up your time and make your life more enjoyable?

Related Stuff

The Pros and Cons Of Outsourcing
Money For Nothing: Tim Ferriss Guardian Article.
49 Decent Virtual Assistant and Personal Outsourcing Resources

When Keeping Up With The Jones’s Is Bad For Business

April 3, 2008

Image by Jim G
Buckingham Palace

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the term keeping up with the Jones’s. I guess that depends which country you’re from. But many of you will be all too familiar with the concept - too many people want what they’re neighbours have got, and more often than not, they want to outdo them too.

Now, I’ve always found these types a bit sad - but to be fair, I love them at the same time. If you have a business, these people are your best friends, because more often than not, what you sell to them, you can also sell to their neighbours.

But, if you’re in business with the Jones’s types, or worse still, you’re one of them yourself, you need to change your wicked ways because this attitude is bad for business.

A friend of mine was telling me a story about a company who’s trying to headhunt him. Their business is not doing so great and my friend has a brilliant track record in their industry. Now I don’t usually gamble - in fact, I hate gambling. But, I’d be willing to bet that he could turn their problem round dramatically and net them a huge profit in his first year of working for them. There’s just one problem - the company think like the keeping up with the Jones’s types, in a backward sort of way.

My friend isn’t desperate for the job, but he agreed to go to work for them, so long as they paid him the same salary he is getting now. I personally would have wanted more - but he’s happy with the same amount. Anyway - they want to pay him less. In fact they don’t want him at all, unless he’ll take less.

And the ridiculous thing is, the difference is a paltry amount but their reasoning is even sillier. The Directors don’t want to match his salary because he’d be getting the same pay they’re getting themselves. Now - isn’t that poor thinking at it’s worst? They’re not going to be getting less themselves. And they’ll be benefitting from a massive increase in profits and business growth. But they don’t want it, because they don’t want to pay someone the same salary they’re getting.

And it’s not just them. This illogical way of thinking is pretty common. In, I Can Make You Rich, Paul McKenna refers to a study where several people were offered a salary raise. They were given two choices - they could have $80k a year and their colleagues would get less. Or they could have $100k a year, but their colleagues would get more. The majority chose to take $80k a year because they didn’t want their colleagues to earn more than them. So, their backward thinking meant they got a lot less money.

Do you know people who think like this? Can you see what a huge advantage you have if you don’t think like this? Or do you already think like this and do you want to change your ways?

Is Fear Stunting Your Growth?

March 31, 2008

Image by Chris Martis

No Fear

When we avoid trying different things, or accepting new challenges, in life or business, it is often due to fear of the unknown. But, if we don’t try new things, we don’t push beyond our comfort zone and we get stuck in a rut. It might be a comfortable rut, but it’s still a rut.

I’ll be the first to admit that the fear of trying something new bounces back at me time after time. For example, two of my favourite bloggers have asked me to guest post for them - Albert of Urban Monk and Kelly of She-Power. I was ecstatic that they asked me, as they both have brilliant blogs and I have a great deal of interest in the topics they cover.

But after the initial excitement, the doubts began to infest my mind. What if I make a hash of this? What if I write an awful guest post and readers fall out of love with these wonderful blogs because of me?

Then my imagination began to run away with me and I started seeing the negative comments and awful hate emails coming my way after writing the said terrible posts.

Almost as soon as the doubts began to creep in, I was able to stop myself. I knew that I’d been at this particular crossroads many times and I’d never been flattened by a truck. So why am I having such negative thoughts to begin with? Am I not learning from past experience?

The simple truth is - I don’t challenge myself regularly enough. According to Brian Tracey, in his book - Million Dollar Habits, we should try to do one new thing which makes us feel slightly uncomfortable everyday. This helps us grow as a person and gives us more confidence as we try new things.

Small things that make us “feel slightly uncomfortable” on a daily basis sounds a whole lot better than doing something death defying that scares us half to death each month doesn’t it? But - how on earth are you supposed to come up with a new challenge for every day of the year?

I think the answer is to make a list of all the things you’d like to do - things that would be beneficial to you, if you didn’t procrastinate on them.

And I’m guessing it would be best to prepare these lists a week in advance. Planning a whole year in advance would be fruitless. As you push yourself beyond your comfort zone, the things you avoid doing now may be no trouble to you at all in six months time. In fact, if you stick to your daily challenges, your goals will probably be a whole lot bolder by this time next year.

I’m going to begin the challenge this week - I’ll add something that makes me feel slightly uncomfortable to my to do list on a daily basis and measure my progress over a year. Are you willing to stretch yourself? Are you going to try this too? Or do you have other methods for reaching beyond your comfort zone that you would like to share?

In the near future, I’ll be writing more on overcoming fear and helping you achieve your goals. If you enjoyed this post, click here to subscribe in a reader and make sure you don’t miss it.

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