How To Run A $20bn Airline

Beside a hotel pool in Bali recently, I read Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton.

I highly recommend it. (The book, and the poolside reading location.) But to save you the trip, let me give you Brent’s 30-second summary:

There’s an underlying anxiety about “who we are”, and how valuable we are as members of society.

And everyone has it. You have it. I have it. Bill Gates has it.

In the past, people didn’t have to worry about their status and role in the world. Royalty and peasants were set into their roles at birth. If you were born into the aristocracy, you’d be an aristocrat for life. If you were born a peasant, you’re a peasant for life.

But today, we live in a society where we can be whoever we want to be.

The possibilities for achievement (sexual, financial, professional) are higher and more varied than ever. But with so much variety in who we can be and what we can do – there are also unlimited ways we can compare ourselves to others, and judge ourselves to be “losers”.

The truth is, we can’t “have it all”.

We can have a lot – but not everything – and once we decide what is most valuable to us, we can live more healthily, and more happily.

The Same is True of Business

There are endless opportunities we COULD pursue in business – a seemingly endless list of things we SHOULD be doing – and an almost endless stream of interruptions in our day (from clients, staff, sales prospects, etc).

But not all of these opportunities, task and interruptions are valuable to us.

And by maximising the amount of focus we give to what’s important, we can have a happier and more healthy business.

What Should You Focus On – If You Want A Happy, Healthy Business?

Consider the following activities within your business:

The Lies They Tell You About “Hustle”…

The big temptation as a business owner is to keep “doing more”.

We hear about “Hustle” – you’ve gotta hustle to get ahead.

  • Your business isn’t growing? – Hustle more – until it grows.
  • A big paying client comes your way? – Hustle more – to take on the extra work.
  • You’re not advertising in every marketing channel? – You’re should be hustling more.

It’s all about the hustle.

Because no matter what the problem is, everything can be solved by hustling a little more.

It’s “The Cult of the Hustle”

Don’t get me wrong.

Hustling can be OK – and I’m not suggesting you develop an allergy to hard work.

But there’s smart hustling, and dumb cult-like hustling.

Fairy Godmother with a Briefcase?

One night, as you’re working late, a strange figure appears in a flash of light and says:

“Billy … I’m your business fairy godmother, here to magically
grant you one wish that will transform your business!”

What’s your one wish?

Most business owners would change the results their business achieves.

  • Progress is never fast enough…
  • Profits are never high (or consistent!) enough…
  • The benefits of being a business owner – for all the time, effort and money you invest – are never big enough.
  • And (for some frustrating reason) the “second-rate” competitor down-the-road… Every time you glance over at him, he’s making more sales than you are – and it drives you insane to see him getting ahead so easily!

You want to achieve more, do more, earn more, enjoy more time, contribute more, build a legacy.

But there are problems holding you back.

Most of these problems can be solved with money.

As the late-great master of marketing, Gary Halbert, once wrote:

A Little April Fools Fun

Over at Infiniti Telecommunications, Pete and the team are always looking for ways to innovate and use technology to make thier customers experience more revolutionary.

The company slogan is ‘Making Communication Easy’ and we’re excited to share their latest customer service development in line with this mantra. #AprilFools

What I Learnt about Business Growing up in a Cult

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Wes Towers, owner of Omnific Design and author of The Simple Manifesto.

Most of us have read about the cult-like nature of brands like Apple. It’s mainly on a surface level and built around hype. What I want to know about are underground entrepreneurs who are pushing the boundaries a little harder than the big corporations do. Taking it into somewhat dangerous territory is what interests me most about the topic, given my own history. Let me explain…

Since publishing The Simple Manifesto I’ve had lots of feedback on the ideas shared in the book. Some loved it, others obviously hated it, and that’s great… it’s far better than indifference. What has surprised me is the number of people who want to talk about one short chapter titled “What I Learnt Growing up in a Cult”.

The curiosity on this topic seems to be driven by three reasons:

  1. By looking at business in unconventional ways and relating it to seemingly unrelated topics (like cults), we are able to create a fresh perspective and insights.
  2. People relate to us more easily when we are open and make ourselves vulnerable about our not-so-perfect pasts. It helps us show our authenticity.
  3. Our unique backgrounds, whether good or bad, can be harnessed and reshaped for our own benefit and the benefit of others.

It’s not my intention to rehash here what I’ve already shared in the book, but to expand upon it based on the many discussions I’ve had with people who have shared their own personal stories.

But first you’ll need to know a little about my history. I’m sure you will see the business similarities as we go (it’s parabolic)…

We’re Back… [Noise Reduction .84]

Hey Gang,

After a little hiatus, we’re back.

Thanks to everyone in the community who’s emailed wondering where this little newsletter (and the PreneurCast Podcast) went.

Well, we had a few new business projects we wanted to focus on and grow…

And with things getting automated and scaled there, we can begin to redeliver Noise Reduction once again.



How We’ve Used Crowdsourcing to Split Test (And Why You Should Too)

crowdIf you’ve been following us for awhile, you’ve no doubt heard us mention split testing a couple of times. We love having the ability to be pragmatic in our efforts, trying multiple approaches to achieve the best result. And we use split testing in various aspects of what we do, from trying different pieces of copy to generate website traffic in different regions, to trying out different email messages with subsets of the same audience segment. There’s a time for split testing nearly everything in marketing, but one of the most interesting and effective use we’ve found for split testing comes through crowdsourcing, which was a recent topic of discussion in a Preneur Podcast featuring Alec Lynch, co-founder of DesignCrowd.

Over the years, we’ve leveraged crowdsourcing in a few ways. We’ve used extensively to help us find designs for product packaging elements and Web properties that we’ve launched over the years.

Michael E. Gerber and the E-Myth [PreneurCast152]

Michael E. Gerber and the E-Myth [PreneurCast152]

“The vast majority of people [who go into business] set out to become their own boss… If they’re like everybody else that I’ve met, they’re working for a lunatic.” —Michael E. Gerber

Pete talks to Michael Gerber, author of the E-Myth series of books and Awakening the Entrepreneur Within, about how he became a best-selling author and small-business guru. They also discuss some of Michael’s latest projects.

It’s the conversation Dom has been waiting for. If you’re a long-time listener, then you must have heard us talking about Michael and his world-famous book, The E-Myth. It’s been around for the longest time and one of the first books of its kind we have read. It contains the core premises of what we believe in here on PreneurCast—about building a sustainable business, being an entrepreneur, and living that lifestyle that we’re all after.

In this episode, we talk about the book’s premise and how he got started—how he actually stumbled into the world of what became The E-Myth. He covers that very openly, and it’s very interesting to hear about his own entrepreneurial journey and what he’s up to now with a thing called The Dreaming Room.

There have been remarkable changes in the ethos of entrepreneurship since the book came out in 1986 (i.e. Silicon Valley and the lifestyle design movement). How does he see this shift in entrepreneurship and how does The E-Myth apply there? Listen to the episode of PreneurCast with Michael and find out.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • How Michael Gerber grew his entrepreneur coaching empire
  • Why The E-myth remains one of the most relevant small business guides
  • How to “work on your business, not in your business”
  • The crucial differences between a technician and entrepreneur
  • How to unlock your creative power
  • How the “mechanism” of technology affects today’s small businesses
  • Why 80-90% of small businesses end up failing
  • How to create “a world that’s about meaning” rather than “an unimaginative world that’s about money” with your entrepreneurial goals

“The owner has to become not the chief producer, but in fact the beneficiary of a system that they’ve invented that enables them to scale their company exponentially. The whole logic of The E-Myth is about scalability.” —Michael E. Gerber

80/20 Sales and Marketing with Perry Marshall [PreneurCast Ep151]

 80/20 Sales and Marketing with Perry Marshall [PreneurCast Ep151]

“Marketing is not convincing everybody to do business with you. Marketing is eliminating all the people that shouldn’t do business with you before you even try.” —Perry Marshall

Perry Marshall, AdWords expert and author of 80/20 Sales and Marketing, talks to Pete about the 80/20 principle, how it can be applied to every part of a business, and why people often stop applying it too soon and miss out on the biggest wins.

In the latest episode of PreneurCast, I talk to AdWords expert and author of my favourite book this year, 80/20 Sales and Marketing, Perry Marshall, about the 80/20 principle, how it can be applied to every part of a business, and why people often stop applying it too soon and miss out on the biggest wins.

A lot of people might know Perry as an AdWords guy. He was the prominent AdWords advisor and author of the definitive guide to AdWords when AdWords was in its initial peak/wave.

This year he wrote a book called 80/20 Sales and Marketing. I got an advance copy 12 months ago before its release, and just put it aside. I can’t remember exactly what prompted me to pick it up and read it when I got the physical book this year. And I have to say, this book is my Book of the Year.

It really surprised me, which might be the reason why it is so far off my list of must-reads for this year. It takes Richard Koch’s principles from the book The 80/20 Principle, and talks about them in the context of sales and marketing. It’s a definitive guide to working less and marketing more. There’s some absolutely gold nuggets in this book, so it was really great to be able to get Perry on and talk about those things.

In our conversation, Perry mentions what’s called the Principle of the Hyper-Responsive Customer, which is that your very best customers have an ability to consume that exceeds your ability to supply. So how do you find them? Listen to this episode of PreneurCast with Perry and find out.

“80/20 is about doing more with less. You don’t need a bunch of new customers. You need to do a better job of selling to the ones you’ve got.” —Perry Marshall

Bootstrapping with Alec Lynch of DesignCrowd [PreneurCast Ep150]

Bootstrapping with Alec Lynch of DesignCrowd [PreneurCast Ep150]

“[W]e didn’t have any selling or marketing skills. That probably would have been useful to help us get in the door of other clients…” –Alec Lynch

Alec Lynch is one of the founders of DesignCrowd, a marketplace for crowdsourced design services. He talks to Pete about the challenges (and benefits) of getting investment and also gives some great tips on using the DesignCrowd service successfully.

As a lot of you may know, a few years ago, I was very lucky to be one of the finalists in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards for the telecommunications business I’m involved with. Well, Alec went through the EoY program this year, and did a little better than me – he was named Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year in the Eastern Region (2014).

His business, DesignCrowd, is all about crowdsourcing design work. It’s one of those platforms where you can put a brief about your project (e.g. you need a logo, a book cover, or a banner designed), and then designers from all around the world will do a spec work and present you with their best ideas. You then get to choose the one you like the best. It’s like a smorgasbord of graphics!

Alec has grown his platform to be one of the largest in the world. If you’re not familiar with it, we talked a lot about the platform, the pros and cons, how to get good results out of it, and more importantly, how Alec bootstrapped and built his business. There’s definitely lessons in that for you to grow your business as well.

There have been some criticisms to the crowdsourcing model of winner-takes-all (i.e. you now have 107 people who have invested an hour of their time to design up a logo; but out of that 107, 106 of them are not going to get paid for that time). How does DesignCrowd address this and other similar concerns? Listen to this episode of PreneurCast with Alec and find out.

“We see our marketplace as being like a stool with three legs. One leg are the designers, the sellers. One leg are the customers, the small businesses that are buying design. And the third leg of the stool are the process, how that process scales and works, the infrastructure and the site itself. Basically, the concept is that each leg of the stool needs to grow roughly at the same rate, in unison, for the marketplace to grow. And if one leg doesn’t work or grow with the others, the marketplace can fall over.” –Alec Lynch

Pete Williams is an entrepreneur, author, and marketer from Melbourne, Australia.

Before being honored “Australia’s Richard Branson” in media publications all over the continent, Pete was just 21 years old when he sold Australia’s version of Yankee Stadium, The Melbourne Cricket Ground For Under $500! Don’t believe it? You will! Check out the story in the FAQ section (it really is our most asked question).

Since then, he’s done some cool stuff like write the international smash hit ‘How to Turn Your Million-Dollar Idea Into a Reality’ (+ the upcoming ‘It’s Not About the Product‘) and he’s created a bunch of companies including Infiniti Telecommunications, On Hold Advertising, Simply Headsets and Preneur Group.

Lots of other people think he’s pretty good too! He’s been announced as the Global Runner-Up in the JCI Creative Young Entrepreneur Awards for 2009, the Southern Region Finalist in the Ernst & Young 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year, and a member of SmartCompany’s Top 30 Under 30.

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