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THE “BE EVERYWHERE” CONTENT FORMULA: How To Dominate Social Media With A Cohesive Strategy, Without Having To Be Your Own Media Company

Look in the mirror and ask yourself: “Am I too late to get started on social media?”

You know that content marketing and building an audience is an essential part of running a business in 2019. But you see these huge brands with massive followings and it seems like you’re too far behind to catch up.

You see these entrepreneurs and influencers creating tons of content on every platform. You hear Gary V talking about hustling and crushing it. It seems overwhelming. I know this is a secret fear for countless entrepreneurs because I talk to them every day. They tell me they’re worried it’s too late.So what’s the truth? Has the ship sailed? Do you need to wait for the next opportunity?

Absolutely not.

The internet is about to go through a massive shift. You can take advantage of it to grow your business, build an impactful brand, and put your product in front of raving customers.
But you need to have a system to do it.
In this article I’m going to walk you through the entire process- start to finish. You’re going to learn:

● What this massive shift is and how you can take advantage of it
● What kind of content you should be creating that potential customers are hungry for
● A powerful formula for creating great content lightning fast
● How to do 10% more work and get 500% more output for your content (this is the secret
to “being everywhere”)

If you’re ready to stop dabbling in social media and start dominating it, this article is your roadmap.

The Coming Internet Revolution – And How You Can Take Advantage

You may not realize it, but the technology that changed our lives in a huge way, is itself going through a huge change.

It doesn’t matter what kind of business you run. You can be in physical products, digital products, software, brick-and-mortar, or anything else. If you want to succeed in 2019 and beyond, you must adapt to this shift.

If you take advantage of it, you will tap into hordes of eager buyers. They will come to trust you and even love you. And they will turn into raving, loyal, paying customers. But if you don’t take advantage of this… you’ll get left in the dust. So what is this change in the internet I’m talking about?

Video.

Creating videos for your business is absolutely one of the most crucial things you can do moving forward.
You might be thinking “Ben, aren’t you exaggerating a little bit? Video… a massive shift?” I want to drive home the magnitude of what I’m talking about. Take a look at this graph:

YouTube by itself currently accounts for almost 20% of all internet traffic.

And it’s getting ready to explode. Take a look at this:

Over the next two years, online video will make up 80% of ALL internet traffic.

Just imagine what this means for the daily life and habits of your potential customers. Check this out:

The average American adult spends an hour and a half online every day, and a quarter of that time is spent watching video. (For younger demographics these numbers are much higher.)

And here’s one last graph:

More than half of all consumers want to see more videos from businesses they shop with.

I know I just buried you in numbers and statistics, but this is the bottom line… people are spending enormous amounts of time watching online video. And that number is skyrocketing. Many entrepreneurs (especially in the brick-and-mortar world) think this revolution won’t affect them. They think online video means Netflix and funny Facebook clips. And they think the business world is separate.

They are sorely mistaken. And their businesses are about to get pulverized, because people expect to see video for nearly everything… including businesses they spend money with. It’s easy to look at the competition and think “If I would have gotten started in 2013 I’d be successful by now. But it’s too late.” This is PRECISELY the reason why you have such a huge opportunity.

That’s because everyone else is thinking the same thing. Your competition is using it as an excuse to not get started. But little do they realize, in just two years they’re going to look back and wish they would have gotten started today.

While everyone else is crying about “oversaturation,” you can dive in right now and ride this cresting wave to success. But you have to get started.

Figure Out What Your Videos Should Be About (And Identify Topics Your Viewers Will Love)

By now you’re probably thinking “OK Ben, I believe you! You’re right, I should start making videos. But I don’t know what I should talk about. (Or I have too many ideas and don’t know where to start!)”

I work with people like this every day. I work with chiropractors, dentists, and all sorts of local businesses. They’re all people who say “My industry isn’t interesting enough to film videos. Nobody wants to watch what we do.

But guess what… they’re all 100% wrong. We help people like this every day create amazing videos that their customers love. Generally we teach 5 main kinds of videos. And you can do the same thing too:

1) Story Videos
Humans love stories. We’re programmed to share information through storytelling. Take advantage of this. Anyone can film a video that says “Hey, I want to teach you XYZ…” But if you can tell a great story, it will stick in people’s minds. It will bring your message to life. It will take the viewer on a journey. They’ll attach emotions to the things you’re teaching, which will make it even more powerful. And here’s a pro tip. Great stories usually involve struggle… the trials you went through, the pain that led you into this journey, and what you had to overcome. Most of the time we try to hide our struggles. We want to bury our pain. But there is a lot of value in sharing that story. It makes you human, and it helps people relate to you because we all have our own struggles. People like buying products, but they love buying products from people they know, like and trust. And the easiest way to get people to know, like, and trust you is to tell your story.

2) FAQ Videos
No matter what industry you’re in, there are always things you have to explain over and over again. When I had my chiropractic practice, I found myself teaching a certain set of exercises all the time. And 90% of my clients all needed to hear the exact same advice about sitting in their chair at work for hours at a time. I started filming videos of these explanations. So rather than saying the same thing for the thousandth time, I could just send someone a link to the video. And rather than having to get someone to come into my office to hear my advice, now an unlimited amount of people could hear my expertise online. Most people are worried “But if I give away my information for free, why will they come into my office and pay for my services?!” The information will demonstrate your expertise and build trust and rapport with your customers. But here’s the thing… they need help taking action. Knowledge is only a piece of the puzzle, they need help implementing it. You can sell the solution. Create products that automate, simplify, and scale. Trust me, this will send your business through the roof.

3) Behind The Scenes Videos
I hate to break it to you, but your clients are nosey. They just can’t seem to mind their own business! (I’m not trying to be rude, mine are too.) It’s human nature. When we do business with someone, we can’t help but think “Where did this person come from? What is their story? Is it something I can get behind? Are they like me? Are
they not like me?” People want to see behind the scenes. They want to see what’s going on in your office. They
want to see how your business works. And this is the problem. All of us think our lives are super boring. We think “Why would anybody want to hear my story? Why would anybody want to get behind the scenes of my life?” But the thing is, people absolutely love it. That’s why reality TV is so popular even to this day. So pull back the curtain and give people a humanizing look into the day-to-day operation of your business. Start looking around your business and find the “boring” daily tasks you can show your customers.

4) “Why” videos
There’s a reason you got into the business you’re in. Sure you wanted to make a lot of money. But if that was the only reason, you would have been a banker. Or a bank robber. There’s something deeper than that… There’s a cause you’re passionate about. There’s a message you believe in. There’s something that lights you up that you just can’t stop talking about. A lot of your early customers will come from people that see themselves in you. And when you
talk about all these things, people love that and they will bond with you. So while it’s great to talk about business, take time to step back. Talk about the big picture. Talk about the “why.” People might not understand the nuts-and-bolts of your business, but they will understand the passion and the purpose.

5) How-To Videos
YouTube is the second largest search engine on the planet (behind Google obviously). So more and more, when someone wants to learn something or is looking for the answer to a problem, they’re not searching for articles to read. Now they’re looking for videos where they can watch someone teach the information they want. You need to take advantage of this. You need to start putting yourself in places where people are already searching for the kind of information you provide. But there’s another critical point: Google owns YouTube. And you’ve probably already noticed, Google is increasingly showing YouTube videos in your search results. So when you create a video and you pay attention to certain keywords, not only will you rank high in YouTube. You’ll also start ranking in Google search.
By creating how-to videos, you essentially get the double-benefit of leveraging two platforms at once. So you can become a trusted source very quickly. OK, so now that you know what you’re going to talk about, it’s time to talk about how to film killer videos…

How To Outline Content Your Followers (And The Social Media Algorithms) Will Love

If you were going to write a 200 page book, would you sit down and just start writing? Would you figure it out as you go?

Of course not. You would write an outline first.

You would figure out what you wanted to say. You’d compile all of your stories. You’d break it down into sections and chapters.

But for some strange reason, people don’t film their videos like this. They just turn on the camera, start talking, and get frustrated when they’ve given the same line 50 times but can’t get the words to come out right.

That’s why I’ve developed a structure I use for all of my videos. It makes it fast and painless for me to film high-quality videos. But more importantly, it also makes it easy for my viewers to digest. Not to mention it makes the algorithms happy so my content gets suggested more.

Here’s the exact outline, so you can use it too:

1) Instantly grab their attention
As soon as the video starts, you need to jump right into what the video is about. You only have a few seconds to catch the viewer’s attention and help them decide if they’re interested in the information. So without any distractions, and with no fluff, give them a concise idea of what they’re going to learn. For example: “Today we’re going to talk about ______, and how you can achieve _______ even if _______.” It only needs to be a couple sentences, so a good way to think about this like the title of your video. It’s a one-two punch that makes the viewer sit up and say “That sounds awesome, I want to learn that!”

2) Introduce yourself
Next, tell the viewer who you are and what the channel is normally about. You want to give
some context so they know they’re in the right place.
“I’m your host ______ and you’re watching ______, where we help ______ like you accomplish
_______.”
This helps your viewer say “Cool, I’m an entrepreneur/writer/mom/athlete/guitarist/whatever too,
and I also want to accomplish that thing. I should pay attention!”

3) Ask the viewer to subscribe
The average person needs to hear a Call-To-Action several times before they actually act. So whatever your CTA is at the end, it helps to give it at the beginning too. Plus, not everyone will watch the whole video, so we want to make sure they don’t miss it. “We have some amazing stuff coming up on this channel, so make sure you hit the bell so you
don’t miss anything.”

4) Reintroduce the subject in more detail
In the intro, you explained the topic of the video in just a couple sentences, to grab the viewer’s attention. Now you’re going to say it again, but in more detail. This time you can include things like:
● Why is this a timely thing to talk about?
● Why is it important to learn this information?
● What does it feel like to struggle with the problem you’re talking about?
● What will the viewer know how to do by the end of the video?
The first intro is kind of like hooking a fish. This time as we go into more depth, it’s like we’re starting to reel the fish in. We’re setting the hook deeper. We’re making sure our viewer is 100% locked in, and we’re really piquing their interest so they want to keep watching and learning.

5) Teach the content
This is where we dive into the actual content of the video. Usually what I do is write 5 bullet points that I want to cover. If I’m teaching how to do something I’ll break it into five steps. If I’m trying to convince the viewer of something, I’ll think of five supporting arguments. If I’m telling a story, I’ll pull out five important lessons. Depending on the amount of content, I might make five sub-points for each one. Then all I have to do is put an iPad in front of me with a presentation on it. It doesn’t need to be in-depth, just the five points with their five sub-points that I want to hit. This makes it really easy for me to look at each prompt, talk about what I want to cover, then move onto the next thing. It’s also really important to use examples. Each point on your outline might only be one sentence, but then you can tell a short story or give an example to bring it to life. This will make your content more memorable and powerful for your reader. And once you get comfortable with this, it also helps you make great videos really quickly.

6) Give a quick recap
Once you get through the content portion, you’re going to go back and review the main points. I’m a big fan of the strategy: “Tell them what you’re going to tell them. Tell them. Tell them what you told them.” This might sound like overkill, but you want to make it completely obvious what the takeaways and the lessons are. Plus, by summarizing the key points you can say “Alright, so the five things again are… Now you know how to _____. Isn’t that cool?!” Instead of hoping your viewer came to the conclusion you want them to, you get to plant the idea in their head that they now have new knowledge or skills. It helps solidify the value that you offered, and it establishes you as the expert.

7) Give a CTA (Call-To-Action)
Next you’re going to give a call to action. Say something like:
● “Now go put this into action.”
● “Go opt-in below.”
● “Click on the links in the description.”
It’s always a great idea to give them something to do when they’re done watching the video. How can they keep the momentum going? How can they can get more value from you? Give them a way to continue on the journey with you.

8) Ask them to subscribe again
It’s hard to get in front of a viewer for the first time. Your video had to end up in their search results. Or the YouTube algorithm had to suggest one of your videos. Or someone shared your video on Facebook. Now that the hard work is done, we want to make sure it’s much easier in the future. If we can get them to subscribe and click the notification bell, next time they’ll see our video as soon as it comes out.

9) Sign off
Finally, at the very end we want to say goodbye and thank the viewer for watching. If you want, you can even give a short teaser of what’s ahead. Open a loop in their mind so they want to tune in next time. Or you can simply say something like “See you next time” so that it plants the seed that this isn’t the last video they’re going to watch from you. Use this outline for yourself and you’ll be creating killer videos in no-time. And if you’d like to kickstart your videos, download our Perfect YouTube Outline worksheet. Just fill in the blanks and you’ll be ready in minutes to hit record!

How To Get Your Content In Front Of Customers (And How To Be Everywhere)

So now we now what our content is going to be about, and we know how we’re going to talk about. But what’s next?

We need to talk about distribution. Meaning how are we actually going to get our content in front of people? And more specifically, how are we going to get our content in front of as many people as possible?

Now here’s the problem most people quickly run into: getting in front of more people usually requires creating more content. Which means pretty soon they find themselves on the social media hamster wheel…

They want more people to see their YouTube videos, so they start creating Facebook content to drive traffic back to YouTube.

Then they need more eyeballs on their Facebook posts, so they start creating Instagram content to drive traffic back to Facebook.

But now they need more visibility on Instagram, so they start publishing on Medium to drive traffic back to Instagram.

This goes on and on. Pretty soon they’re juggling all these social media projects… Facebook Lives, Instagram Stories, YouTube videos, Soundcloud podcasts, and everything else.

There’s no rhyme or reason. The content isn’t connected. Instead of one cohesive social media strategy, they’re pulled in a million directions. They’re running themselves ragged. So they fall behind in their posting schedule. They end up with sporadic content and half-committed shows all over the place.

And worst of all, they’re not spending time doing what they actually need to do: make sales and grow the business.

If this sounds all too familiar, don’t beat yourself up. The vast majority of clients I help with marketing are stuck on this same hamster wheel.

But what if I told you there was another way? What if I told you it was possible to create a single piece of content… then it automatically becomes native content for every social media platform? It is possible, because that’s exactly what I do. Here’s how…

Step 1: start with video
Everything in my business starts like this… with me standing in front of a camera, looking at an iPad below the camera, and walking through a presentation with five bullet points. When I say “presentation” I’m not talking about a beautiful PowerPoint presentation. It doesn’t need to be in-depth. It’s simply the five key points that I want to hit, with maybe a few sub-points under each one. This makes it really easy for me to look at each prompt, talk about what I want to cover, then move onto the next thing.

It’s also important to use examples. Each point on your outline might only be one sentence, but then you bring it to life with a short story or analogy. This will make your content more memorable and powerful for your reader. Plus, once you get comfortable with this, it also helps you make great videos fast.

And for you writers out there, here’s a quick tip…
Some people are good on video but struggle writing. Others are great writers but feel awkward speaking into a camera. If you’re the latter, try teleprompt.me. You can write out your script and read it off your computer screen. The program listens to your voice and automatically scrolls to keep up with you. This lets you read comfortably and speak naturally as you film yourself. It’s hands-down the best teleprompter software available.

If you want help coming up with ideas for videos, we have an article called 5 Videos Every Business Needs In 2019. I teach all my clients to start with these 5 videos, and I think they’ll work wonders for you too.

Step 2: turning it into a podcast
Once the video is finished, we strip the audio and export it as an .mp3. That audio typically becomes a podcast that we release down the road. That way I don’t have to always be creating podcasts and video separately.

When I film videos, I always follow an outline. This does several things:
● It helps me make high-quality content fast, since I’m not starting from scratch every time.
● It ensures that I create content the YouTube algorithm will love.
● It creates consistency in my content, which makes it easier for viewers to get “addicted”
to my videos since they know what to expect.

But it does one other thing that is really important: it makes it easy to adapt your video content to a podcast. For example, I know that the third thing I always do in my YouTube videos is ask people to click the notification bell. So it’s really easy for me, or someone on my team, to go in and remove those few sentences from the audio so that it makes sense as a standalone podcast.

You see, the trick is you want to create one piece of content that can be re-purposed everywhere. But at the same time, each piece of content needs to feel native on the platform where you publish it.

If people think “Wait a minute, am I listening to a YouTube video on iTunes right now?” They’ll feel cheated. They want to know that you took the time to create content specifically for that platform.

So if you do a little bit of work up-front, it makes it easy to remove the YouTube-specific sections. Then you can add in new pieces of audio like bumper music or an outro, that make it sound like a purpose-made podcast.This way you do 10% extra work, but get two completely new pieces of content.

Step 3: Turning it into an article
When we strip off the audio, we also do something else that is super important. We transcribe the audio so that we have the information in text format. We used to have to send off the file to be manually transcribed, and we had to pay by the minute. It gets expensive fast.

Now there is Otter.ai. Just upload your file to Otter and in just a couple of minutes you’ll have an incredibly accurate transcription. And best of all, it’s free. From here you can do some light editing to turn this into a blog post.

Sometimes you might have an episode where you speak too conversationally. It sounds right as spoken content, but when you turn it into an article it sounds awkward and unnatural. In cases like this, we’ll hire a professional writer to watch the video and turn it into a polished article.

Step 4: Creating Audiograms
For every video I film, we pull out little bite-sized chunks to be posted on Instagram and Facebook.

These are short excerpts- under 60 seconds so they fit on Instagram- where I’m giving one little piece of information that is valuable by itself. Then we add some animation so that it’s visually engaging, and so people can read along even if their sound is off. One of my team members uses Final Cut Pro to make these, but if you want a fast and cheap option check out Headliner.app. It’s not as powerful or flexible as creating your own with Final Cut, but it’s easy if you’re a beginner.

Then when we post these audiograms on social media, we can link back to the main video, podcast, or article. This allows us to cast a broader net and funnel organic traffic back to our core content. From there we can then get people to subscribe to our channels or opt-in to our email list.

Step 5: Creating image posts
The last thing we do is pull short quotes. Since we already have the transcription, we just need to look through the text and find passages of one or two sentences that stand alone.

I usually look for things that are:

● Motivational
● Educational
● Surprising
● Controversial
● Funny
● Valuable

I want to find anything that is going to help someone, give them a little piece of advice, or just
make them sit up and take notice.

I imagine they’re scrolling through their feed. What can I say that’s going to make them stop
swiping for a second and go check out the main piece of content?
Or at the very least, what’s going to make them say “This Ben Adkins guy has shared some
really helpful stuff recently.”

Once we have a handful of these quotes, we add fonts, colors, and images to make them look great on social media. Now we have a ton of posts to publish all over the place… once again, casting that bigger net to push organic traffic back to our core content. (I know this might seem easier said than done. If you’d like to see exactly how my team creates these bite-sized repurposed posts, check out our webinar here where we teach you step-by-step.)

Taking Inventory
By following this strategy, we make one piece of content, and it turns into:

● A YouTube video (that can also be published natively on Facebook)
● A podcast
● A blog post (that can also be published on Medium.com)
● At least five audiograms, that link back to the main content
● Several quote images to be posted everywhere on social media
And so you don’t forget, here are the apps we talked about:
● Teleprompt.me
● Otter.ai
● Headliner.app

Seeing The Bigger Picture

I hope by now you’re excited about our “content machine.” With just a little extra input you get a LOT more output.

But the thing is, this isn’t just about posting more. Like I said before, so many people get stuck on the social media hamster wheel. It’s a never ending trap where you keep working harder and harder for fewer results.

What this strategy allows you to do is be deliberate.

So many people are always playing catch-up. They’re always scrambling at the last minute yelling “I’m behind schedule and I need to figure out what to post today!” This obviously results in crummy content.

And so many people also treat their social media as separate “silos.” They focus on Facebook for a while. Then Instagram for a while. Then YouTube for a while. Then back to Facebook… This creates disjointed, inconsistent content.

By using our content machine, you take all of the stress out of publishing on social media. The HOW is taken care of. So now you can start focusing on the WHAT. You can post better content. And more importantly, you can create cohesive campaigns. You can develop excellent messages that spans all social platforms, so that everything you post
reinforces each other.

Now whenever someone comes into your “ecosystem” and learns about your business, wherever they find you they’ll learn the same lessons.

This allows you to generate a ton of attention for you business that leads back to your sales pages and gets people clamoring about what you’re doing.

4 Tools To Help You Get Started Fast

Now you know the exact system my business uses to create all of our content. We do millions of dollars a year in sales, and content marketing is a huge part of our success. Now you have my personal playbook.

I said before that information doesn’t mean anything without implementation. That’s completely true. So I want to make it as easy as physically possible to for you to take action on this stuff. That’s why we’ve created a few tools that are going to help you accelerate your success and start building momentum right now.

The first tool I’m going to give you is The Bootstrapper’s YouTube Checklist. It’s a free checklist we put together that will help you make professional videos without spending a fortune on gear. When you’re ready to start filming, just make sure you can check all of these boxes and you’re guaranteed to create a professional video that looks great.

The next tool I want to give you is The Perfect YouTube Outline. I gave you the outline above, but this is a worksheet that includes examples and prompts. Just fill in the blanks and you’ll have a fantastic YouTube video mapped out in front of you.

I told you that everything in my business starts with me looking into a camera with an iPad positioned just underneath the lens. So we’ve created a presentation that you can use, called The Serial Progress Seeker 5 Part Presentation. Just download it and fill it out, and you can use it just like I do.

And last, I want to give you The SPS YouTube Video Prompts. They’re a series of questions that will help pull out all of the information you need for a great YouTube video. Here’s how it works: download this and send it to a friend, or one of your employees. They’ll open it on their phone, and they’re going to “interview” you. They ask you the question, you look into the camera and respond.

They can even stand right behind the camera. So now you’re not “performing” on screen, you’re simply having a conversation. You’re sharing your knowledge the same way you do every day in your business.

This one simple trick takes all of the awkwardness out of the situation and turns it into a totally comfortable experience. And the best part is, it shows up on the screen. The final result will be a fantastic video that makes the viewer feel like you’re speaking directly to them.

I’m confident that these tools are going to save you a ton of time. I had to figure out these strategies through years of painful trial and error. Now all you have to do is download them and start using them! So I hope you’ll take me up on my offer.

That’s it, the entire A-to-Z system for dominating social media. We covered a lot so I’d love for you to leave a comment below and tell me two things:
● What was your #1 takeaway?
● What is your #1 question?

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the comments!

How to Create a $500 Training Program in less than a week

I want to share an embarrassing secret that I bet you can relate to. 

I am literally one of the biggest procrastinators on the planet. It is an absolute dysfunction for me, and it gets in the way of a lot of things in my life. 

I used to be very, very bad at creating training programs. If I had to sit down and film videos or write content, it would take me forever. 

The reason I’m sharing this is because I know so many people that are great at something, and they have an idea for turning their knowledge into an online business, but they never actually launch it. And that’s because it takes them forever to get the information out of their head and into a finished product they can sell. 

If you’re one of those people (and just based on statistics and how many entrepreneurs I talk to every day, I’m guessing you are), I want to share a huge breakthrough I had many years ago. 

Quick interruption: I’ve also compiled ten of my best productivity hacks into The Millionaire Procrastinator’s Productivity Handbook. Click here to download your copy for free.

I stumbled across a way to hack my brain- a way to actually harness my procrastination and redirect it to create massive success for myself. And you can absolutely use this to your advantage too. 

 

How I accidentally learned how to monetize my procrastination

 

I have another huge dysfunction (That’s the last one for the day. I’m not going to admit to any more dysfunctions!). 

I absolutely cannot stand letting anybody down. That might sound like a humble brag, but it really is an issue for me. Often I won’t do something for myself that I should, but if someone else is depending on me I just I just can’t let them down. It’s really hard for me. 

I started to realize that even though I struggle horribly with procrastination, if I told someone I was going to have something done on Tuesday, I would absolutely get it done on Tuesday. Even if it was done at the very last minute, I would always meet the deadline. 

Once I learned this about myself, I started thinking: “How can I use this to get over my procrastination and get the job done?” 

And that’s when I developed a trick that changed my life. 

I figured out if I had one person that was depending on me, it absolutely motivated me to get something done. If I had 10 people depending on me, it motivated me 10 times more. And if those people were customers who had paid me in advance… I would do literally whatever it took to make sure I didn’t let them down. 

And that was the secret.

I had accidentally discovered how to harness one dysfunction to cancel out the other: I forced myself to be accountable, and the accountability actually beats out my need to procrastinate.  

This breakthrough completely changed my life. 

Today I make millions of dollars a year by taking things that I’m nerdy about and teaching people how to get the same results. A lot of people see the sales my business generates every month and they think I’ve got a giant list of past customers. They think I must have enormous resources or some secret sauce they don’t have. But the truth is, it’s just because I learned how to channel these dysfunctions and now I can take a concept for a product and launch it insanely fast.

I hope this lesson alone is worth the price of admission for reading this article. But I want to take it one step further and show you exactly how you can use this to launch a profitable training program in a week or less. 

The fastest way to launch a profitable course I’ve ever seen (and the cornerstone behind my business’s success)

This is the 5-part formula I use to launch all of my courses:

Step 1: Figure out what you’re going to teach

People tell me all the time “I can’t create a course, I’m not an expert in anything!” 

But it’s not about being an expert. It’s simply about teaching someone how to do something. 

I promise you there are dozens of things you can teach, you just haven’t taken the time to think about your knowledge and your processes. 

So set aside an hour or two, grab a pen and paper, and start brainstorming:

  • What are some skills you have?
  • What are some results you’ve helped other people achieve? 
  • What things do you friends come to you for advice about? 
  • What are you recognized for at work?
  • What is something you learned in school that not everyone knows?

The answers are unlimited. Shooting free throws. Curing headaches. Writing books. There’s no end to the things people will pay you to teach them.

Step 2: Create an outline. 

This is probably the most important thing I’m going to tell you…

Once you know what you’re going to teach, DO NOT start writing an ebook, filming videos, or creating your digital product. 

What I want you to do simply ask yourself: “What is the big takeaway? What’s the one thing I want people to know?”

Then take that One Big Thing and use the 5×5 technique: 

Break your process down into 5 parts. What are the 5 steps you could teach to take someone from having no knowledge, all the way to being able to do the thing you’re teaching them? 

Now take each of those 5 major points and break them into 5 minor points. If you need to do 4 or 6, that’s fine, but in my own courses I always aim for 5 because it’s not too much information to consume, but not too little as well. 

You don’t need to write these steps out in full paragraphs. Simply write them out as bullet points in a google doc. Give yourself an hour or two to get the entire outline done.

Step 3: Start selling 

Here’s the part that’s going to be hard to wrap your head around: I want you to start making sales before you’ve actually created anything. 

I know that sounds crazy. But here’s a lesson that is imperative you learn: you’re not selling a product, you’re selling an outcome. 

Your customers don’t want an ebook or a training manual or a video course. They want your solution to their problem. They want the amazing end result that you offer. 

Without a doubt, the best way I’ve found to do this is through a live webinar. Use Zoom, use GoToWebinar, use whatever you want, but teaching on a live webinar is the shortest path to getting knowledge out of your head and into your customer’s brain. 

That’s exactly how I do it. I say “Here are the results I’ve gotten for other people, and here’s what I’m going to teach you so you can achieve those same results too.” Essentially all I’m doing is selling the bullet points I mapped out in Step 2. And when a customer buys, they’re immediately taken to a page that says “Thanks for your purchase, now sign up for a webinar.”

Step 4: Build your presentation

Here’s the secret to this whole strategy: now that you have paid customers who have signed up for a webinar on your calendar, you have no choice but to get your course done. 

That might sound intimidating, but the good news is it’s not that hard. 

Build a presentation with PowerPoint or Keynote and simply walk your students step by step through the process of how to do the thing you’re teaching them. Since you have a deadline on the calendar and they’re depending on you, you will force yourself to actually put together a course in a logical fashion- and faster than you ever imagined. 

Still to this day I’m not disciplined enough to sit down and write copy or cut videos in a certain time frame. But when I do things live, it forces me to get my presentation finished in time.

Step 5: Deliver the webinar

This is the part that terrifies most people.  

The first time I teach this system to someone, they always say “It’s going to seem like I’m teaching on the fly. I don’t want to look like I’m winging it!” 

But the thing is, live webinars are actually a huge benefit to your customers because they’re not just watching videos, they get to be an active part of the course. They’re not going to care that you haven’t scripted every single word of the presentation, they’re going to love the fact that they can ask you questions. 

I personally love doing this because the questions people ask make the course a lot better than it would have been had I just guessed what they wanted to know.

I record the webinar, and when it’s over we split the recording into the five individual videos and upload it to a members area. That way when customers watch it in the future, they’re not just watching one big webinar, they’re watching individual videos with a logical progression. 

We always try to get the videos uploaded within 24 hours of the original webinar, so we can send out an email to all of the buyers saying “Did you miss the live presentation, or do you want to watch it again? It’s live in the members area, you can go check it out now.” 

Sometimes there will be a section I want to reshoot. And the great thing is, since the original version is live in the members area, I have an enormous incentive to get the new video filmed and uploaded as fast as possible, whereas normally I would drag my feet for weeks.

What this looks like in practice- my exact blueprint for enormous launches

I know this is a ton of information to digest, so I want to show you how this looks in practice. This is the exact blueprint for how I launch my own courses:

I’ll pick a day to give my live webinar- usually a Tuesday. No matter what, everything MUST be ready on that date. 

The Wednesday and Thursday before I’ll send out two emails that will lead into a sales email. These are to pique my customers’ interest and start getting them excited about the value I’m going to offer them. 

On Friday I send out the sales email, which explains exactly what they’re going to get in the course. And remember I sell it before I create anything, so basically I’m just selling bullet points. Essentially these three emails are like a mini sales letter, but delivered to their inbox, and these emails lead directly to a buy page. The sale is open all weekend, and I close it on Monday. 

While the sale is going on, I’m building my Keynote slides and polishing my presentation. By the time Tuesday arrives I’m ready, and I give the training live. Once the live webinar is done, my staff takes the recording, cuts it into pieces, and puts into the members area. 

And that’s it! That’s how I create profitable training programs in a week or less. 

If I would try to create a video course from scratch it would take me weeks, if not months, because I would procrastinate so much. But by doing it live, I trick myself and use the impending deadline to just get it done. As a result I’ve been able to create a super successful business- that I can run out of a backpack. 

 

My challenge to you

Now that I’ve shared my secret to success, I challenge you to use it for yourself. 

Here’s what I challenge you to do: I want you to sit down and think “What is something I’m good at?” Start brainstorming and pretty quickly you’re going to realize you have a training program inside you already- something you can teach someone to do on their own. 

Break the process down into 5 steps, and put a date on the calendar when you’re going to give your training on a live webinar. 

If you don’t have an audience or an email list yet to sell your live webinar to, ask three friends to join you on a Zoom call and teach them. Record the video, break it down into individual segments, and now you have a finished training course ready to sell to future customers. 

 

Next steps

Once you have your course finished, the big question is “How do I get my offer in front of potential customers?” 

There are many answers: organic traffic, social media marketing, affiliate marketing, Facebook groups and forums, paid advertising, and much more. 

But possibly the hottest advertising strategy right now is Facebook ads. This is probably the most powerful marketing tool that entrepreneurs have ever had access to… and you have access to it as well. 

It used to be that only the Coca-Colas and Nikes of the world could use cutting-edge advertising methods, because TV commercials and radio spots were so expensive. But now, even if you have a shoestring budget, you can say “Who is my exact ideal customer? How old are they, what gender are they, where do they live, how much money do they make, and what things are they interested in?” And you can pay to only speak to those people, and no one else. 

It truly is incredible. But it’s also a little overwhelming. That’s why I created the Facebook Ads Backpack Guide. If you want to harness the power of Facebook advertising to launch a 7- or 8-figure business that you can run from a backpack, just like I do, then this course will show you step-by-step exactly how you can do that. 

 

Click here to check it out.

If you have any questions about how to use this 5-part strategy in your business, please ask me in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer. 

And if you use this blueprint to create your own product, please post a link to your sales page in the comments as well. I’m happy to share a little traffic from this page if you tell me how helpful this article was 🙂

And don’t forget, if you’d like to get more of my productivity advice, click here to download your free copy of The Millionaire Procrastinator’s Productivity Handbook.

Clients through Email (How 2 cold emails convinced me to spend $18k on a service.)

how to get clients through email

We’re all looking for better ways to sell our products and services. Ever since I got heavily involved in marketing my Chiropractic practice via the Internet back in 2010, I’ve become obsessive over all the various ways that people build their business using the medium. One of the things that I’ve been especially obsessed with is how businesses get clients through email.

As the owner of a few successful online businesses, I am constantly being pitched by other business owners who are trying to get us to become a client. That comes with some very cool advantages for a “marketing nerd” like me. In short… I get my eyes on some very clever (and a ton of not so clever) sales funnels.

Today, I want to tell you about a particular client acquisition strategy that blew me away with how effective it was.

This strategy convinced me to sign up for a $1500/month service (which will end up costing me around $18,000 this year). The best part is that all of this was accomplished with 2 simple emails (and some clever research before those emails were sent).

After you’re done reading this post, you’ll understand the exact strategy that was used to turn me into a client and how you can implement this strategy in your business starting this week.

Let’s dig in…

First… What exactly am I calling a “cold email”?

can you get clients with email?

Too many times, I hear people refer to “cold email” and it’s not actually that at all.

For the purposes of this case study and post, I am defining “cold email” as an email from a person who I do not know and that I have no prior relationship with. I did not know of this person beforehand and did not request that this person send me email about their company or offer.

And in the above definition lies the reason that the “clients from email” strategy is so damned impressive. This person is literally going to make $18k from my company this year because they did a little research and reached out via email.

Is “Cold Email” considered Spam?

One of the questions that I’m going to get when people read this article is “was this person spamming your inbox” and “is that legal for me to do”?

In short… will you get in trouble doing this?

The Answer:
Most of the current spam laws are in place to protect individuals. Businesses who are contacting other businesses don’t follow the same rules. In this case, the messages that I received aren’t spam because this person is using my publicly posted business email address to contact me about an opportunity for my business.

In short, business to business “cold email” is okay, even though I didn’t request information from this person.

Required “I am not a Lawyer” disclaimer.
Make sure you understand your countries email spam laws. I am not a lawyer and I don’t play one on the internet. You shouldn’t base your business on what I tell you when it comes to legal matters.

With all that out of the way, let’s dive into the method.

The core secret behind why this email campaign worked on me (and how you can use it to get clients through email).

using cold email to get clients

I don’t believe you can just send one stock email message to thousands of business owners and get a good response. The world has become too crowded with people trying to get our attention and it just doesn’t work that way anymore (and it hasn’t for some time).

The secret to this campaign lies in the research that was done beforehand.

Not only do I belong to a group of people that is ideally suited for the service that was being pitched (successful online business owners who also have a podcast)… I am also part of a group of people who have a special “link” that can be leveraged.

This special “link” is what got me to pay attention to the cold emails in the first place. This “link” is the crux of the entire strategy and the core thing you need to pay attention to when you read the emails below.

So What is that special “link”?
These emails effectively leveraged a relationship that I had already made.

When you read the emails below, pay special attention to how this person leveraged specifics about something that I had already done in my business and the relationship that I had with a particular podcast that I had appeared on.

The big secret:
This person made me feel like they were a true fan of mine and that they were really paying attention.

The other important secret:
The service this person is offering is something that my company actually needs. The genius behind the targeting of these emails is that he’s emailing people who are very likely to need his services.

The 2 cold emails I was sent.

2 cold emails that get clients

I have to make a confession.
The first email that you see below didn’t do anything (at first) to convince me that this person’s service was something that I needed to sign up for. I literally read the email, closed it, and moved on with my life. This email was essential, however. When I read the second email, I immediately remembered the first email and put together that I had heard from this person before.

It’s important to note the time that elapsed between when these emails were sent. It was 2 days. I received one and quickly moved on, and then I got the next one 2 days later.

While the first email didn’t do much to convince me to buy on it’s own, it was essential to the entire process working. If email #1 had included all of the information that email #2 contained, it would have been awkward.

The first email gives the second email permission to say more.

This is the power of following up correctly (even when you don’t get any kind of response during your first attempt).

With that said, let’s take a look at email #1.

Email #1: The Attention Grabber

cold email templates

The above literally had 4 paragraphs. That is incredibly important because it was short enough that I read all of it. An email any bigger than this from someone that I don’t know would never get read. I would look at the email at a glance and my brain would say “nope!”. This was the perfect length as an opener.

Not only was the length good, but this person covered a ton of ground in those 4 short paragraphs.

The core secrets behind email #1:

  • ATTENTION
    A very enticing subject line.
  • RELATIONSHIP
    “This is how I know you” in the first paragraph. He let me know that he found me because I was a guest on a podcast that he liked.
  • PROOF OF CONCEPT
    Very cleverly showing me that his service is something that someone I respect is already doing in the second paragraph (even though he’s probably not doing it himself). The guys who hosted me on their podcast are already doing what he’s about to pitch me (and he knows I respect those guys because I was on their podcast).
  • THE OPPORTUNITY
    Introducing his service in the 3rd paragraph.
  • CALL TO ACTION
    He asked me for a reply in the 4th paragraph.

Even though this email didn’t get me to purchase from him right away (or even respond), it planted the idea in my mind that he was a fan of what I was doing and that he had something interesting for sale (that people I respect were already doing).

Email #1 was the perfect setup for email number 2.

Let’s take a look at it now.

Email #2: The Example Heavy Closer

cold email template for agency

Email #2 was the clincher for me.

It arrived 2 days after the first email (even though he states in the email that it was “a week or two ago”). I wasn’t even mad that he got the timing wrong (I think that was on purpose). This email arrived at the perfect time. It arrived in time for me to be able to remember the last email and connect that this was the same person mailing me again (I love when people follow up because it signals an “attention to detail”.)

The core secrets behind email #2:

  • ATTENTION
    The subject line got me because it related back to the content of the first email and referred to my podcast (my baby!).
  • RELATIONSHIP
    The author of the email once again made mention of the podcast I appeared on and the strategy that those guys were using to grow their business (which leads perfect into his service).
  • EXAMPLES OF WORK
    This was genius. He links me to examples of his work. The most important part of this is that, while he was showing me the quality of his work, he was showing example of content that he had done for some of the top names in my niche (I’m not even sure that he got paid to do the work for them, but it was smart that he did his examples based on their content). From here, I could now effectively visualize what he was going to be producing for me.
  • CALL TO ACTION
    From there he asked me to reply back.

After email #2, I was hooked. I replied back and started chasing this guy to get a meeting. It was the perfect set of pitches matched with a service that my business needed. This guy had my attention and I had my credit card ready.

From there we signed up for a $1500/month service (the highest package he offered) and I anticipate that we’ll be spending money with him for years to come.

All of this worked for him because of the genius psychological triggers that he used to “check my boxes” as I read through his emails.

The genius psychological triggers that makes these emails so effective.

how to write a great cold email

Simply put, these emails worked because of the effective way they made all of the “sales” that they needed to make in order to make the big sale.

After reading the two emails, I was convinced that:

  • This person knew my business at a deeper level than most.
  • This person has other clients in my industry.
  • Repurposing content for Social Media is something that people that I respect are already doing at a high level (I knew this already but he drove it home even more).
  • This person has an advanced understanding of how to fulfill the service that he’s pitching (his examples were on point).
  • This person pays attention to detail.
  • This person wants to work with us.
  • This person can give us the kind of content that will give us an advantage for a fraction of what it would cost us to do it in house.

This was all done because of 2 emails that barely took me 3 minutes to read in total. Pretty damned impressive.

The monster opportunity for anyone that has a high ticket service.

cold email generator

Simply put, this template can be applied to any service that requires a high level of skill to fulfill.

All you really need to do is find a place where your market is hanging out. This person found me because I was a guest on a high profile podcast. I am betting that other guest on that podcast (Who have their own podcast) got similar emails. The key was the micro personalization that was done.

Even though he didn’t have to do a lot to personalize this template for me, it made me feel like it was written just for me.

You could do the same by targeting:

  • The Itunes Podcast charts.
  • Big Youtubers.
  • Your Local News
    (look at those running commercials during the breaks)
  • Radio Advertisers on your Favorite Local Station.
  • People in a highly niche Facebook Group.

If you follow the format of the above emails and use the psychological triggers that I pointed out below each example, you’ll be blown away by how effective cold email can become for your business.

Have you ever bought something big from a cold email?

selling with cold email

I am a regular purchaser from emails. Most of the time those emails come from folks who I have requested offers from, however.

So that begs the question… Have you ever gotten a “cold email” that made you purchase something online?

Let me know in the comments!
(Also… hit me up with questions if you have any)

How to Sleep Better than you have in your entire life (in 43 Nights).

Learning how to sleep better is something that we’re all supposed to do when we’re young. Unfortunately most of us on the planet never really learn this essential skill and have to settle for what we can get every night.

It should be simple… right?
You lay down at the end of your day and you should pass right out. That’s rarely the case for most of us. Whether you’re dealing with stress, bad sleeping habits, health issues, or just a bad sleeping environment, they all matter and drastically affect your sleep cycle. Your sleep cycle, in turn, affects how your entire day goes.

I’m 36 years old now. When I was younger, I could get away with sleep that wasn’t optimal. The older I get the more I’ve realized how much not getting good sleep was affecting me.

I’m a nut for self-improvement and I spend a ton my of time trying to figure out how to get more done in a day.

I’ve been looking for ways to improve my sleep for the last 5 years. The last year, however, I started to get really serious about it. In this post, I want to walk you through all the small things that have helped me finally figure it out (and one big thing that finally made all the small things matter).

Why this may be one of the most important post you ever read.

How to Sleep Better

This post is a departure from the “how to make money online” stuff that I usually talk about. I wrote it because so many of my entrepreneur friends seem to suffer from sleep issues. I sincerely hope that my struggle (and the path I took to fix this) can help you too.

It doesn’t matter how productive you are. It doesn’t matter how much money you make. It doesn’t matter how great your health is right now. If you figure out how to get better sleep, all of the above will improve.

If you’re reading this post, it’s most likely because you’re either a chronic bad sleeper, or because something has recently changed in your life that has caused you to get sleep that isn’t as good as it used to be.

No matter the cause of your sleep issues, this post should help you to figure out what you can do to fix them and help you understand how to sleep better.

If you can fix your sleep issues and dial in a more consistent sleep cycle, you’ll be able to see improvement in all areas of your life. Sleep is literally the foundation of everything that you do during the day. If you don’t establish a good foundation, nothing you do will be as good as it could be.

PLEASE NOTE:
What I did to fix my sleep cycle may not be your exact solution. My exact formula isn’t the important part of this post (although I suspect that my exact formula can help the majority of folks out there). The important part of this post is that you understand that changing your daily “rituals” is the key to getting better sleep. Sleep is about rituals. Specifically… it’s about having a “Linchpin Ritual” (more on that below)

YOU SHOULD ALSO KNOW:
When you follow the advice in this post and start to change your daily rituals, your body will fight back. It’s not going to be the most comfortable months that you’ve ever had (lol). That said, don’t try to change everything at once. This is about consistency. If you’re more tired at first, that’s to be expected. It took me 43 nights to feel like I had finally achieved what I was after. There were benefits starting in the first week, but I didn’t get to a “full change” until about night 43.

In summary, this post can absolutely change your life by getting you better sleep, but it’s going to be work (there are no quick fixes when it comes to changing habits or developing new ones).

What my sleep cycle looked like for my entire life.

The alarm clock was not my friend

I’m an insanely productive person by nature. I don’t work a ton of hours every day, but I make the hours that I do work count. With all that said, if I miss a day of work because I feel groggy and my brain isn’t working, it matters a great deal to my business.

When I was a baby I slept horribly. I’d get a few hours at a time at most and that continued through my early childhood.

When I got to my teenage years, I figured out that life was far more interesting late at night (haha) and that began a pattern of staying up late. While that was functional to a point, it really caused a problem when I needed to get to sleep at a decent hour (like before a big test or a big presentation).

All of these bad nocturnal habits translated into my adult life. I found it easiest to study late at night and found that I was more productive during the late night hours. It all seemed extremely effective and I excelled in life because of my odd hours (or so it seemed).

When I got out into the “real world”, and had to get up to see patients (I was a practicing Chiropractor for years before I started my “backpack business”), my sleep cycle proved to be a big problem.

I would sleep for 4-5 hours a night and try to find a way to get my extra 1-3 hours in short spurts throughout the day. In short, my sleep was super gapped up into a series of naps.

I started getting into a really bad pattern of putting in a few days with really terrible and inconsistent sleep and then crashing hard one day a week. This pattern got worse and became my “normal” for years after it started (even after I no longer worked my “Chiropractic office hours”).

Because of all this, I started getting really bad tension headaches (that sometimes developed into migraines) at least once a week. Those were due to the fact that my body was over stressed because I wasn’t resting enough at night.

Considering how crappy my sleep was, I still believed that my weird schedule gave me an advantage in my life.

Why I thought my terrible sleep cycle was a blessing.

bad sleep is a curse

It was completely stupid, but I truly believed working these weird hours was giving me an advantage and that it fostered some sort of creativity. I would stay late into the night and had fully convinced myself that I could only be creative in those late hours.

I created some very lucrative businesses while sleeping this way and it really played into the fantasy that my business relied on me keeping these odd hours as a part of my daily habits.

In reality, I was only a fraction as productive as I could have been and my brain was literally running on fumes every single week (until the inevitable crash day when I recovered and “caught up”).

It wasn’t until I had an unexpected change in my business that I stumbled into something that would finally force me out of this pattern and finally start me on the path to fixing my sleep pattern.

The “hard to swallow” change that accidentally fixed my sleep cycle.

I learned how to fix my sleep cycle because of a happy accident.

In early 2019, I got rid of a lot of waste in my businesses and, as a result, they started running more efficiently and cheaply. Because we started running more smoothly, I was able to focus more of my mind of how to improve other parts of my life.

And that’s when I took a look in the mirror and realized that I had let myself get a little more out of shape than I was comfortable with. I had become so consumed with my business, that I hadn’t focused much on keeping my body in tune.

Please note…
I’m not talking about sleep here. I just didn’t like the way my body looked when I looked in the mirror. I still hadn’t made the connection between my terrible sleep patterns and the physical shape my body was in.

The “vanity” of not liking what I looked like in the mirror lead me to a very happy accident, however.

I started with a simple thought.
“I need to get my ass back into the gym”.

And that simple thought led me to a ton of really inconsistent trips to the gym that didn’t really turn into anything. I would try to go when I had a free moment, but that just never really turned into a habit. As a result, I didn’t feel like I was getting in any better shape.

And that lead to the breakthrough.

I decided to stop being a wuss and to try to get to the gym at a consistent time every day. I am a firm believe in the power of “rituals” and figured that, even if I couldn’t make it to the gym everyday, I could at least get to the gym at the same time when I did go (this may sound silly but keep reading).

At the time, I was going to a gym that wasn’t open 24 hours a day. It was only open from 5am to about 8pm at night. I decided that I should “suck it up” and get my ass out of bed in the morning at 5am. It seemed crazy at the time, but “vanity” will make you do crazier things than “health” will sometimes.

Needless to say, the first 2 weeks of this “experiment in vanity” sucked.

What the first 2 weeks of getting better sleep looked like. (hint: it sucked)

the first two weeks of any new routine suck

I’ll be the first person to tell you that I didn’t start going to the gym at 5AM to get better sleep. I started going to the gym at 5am in the morning because I was sick of looking overweight and feeling like I wasn’t doing something about it. After weeks of not being able to get consistent with my gym trips, I had decided that it was because I wasn’t setting aside a consistent time to go every day.

That led me to the sentence that changed my sleep cycle forever…
“Alexa, set an alarm for 5am”

As my nightstand “echo dot” replied back with “Okay, alarm set for 5am”, I felt a sense of dread washing over me. Lucky for me, I had literally hit “rock bottom” with how sick I was of looking at my flabby gut.

The next morning, “Alexa” woke me up at 5AM and I proceeded to lay there with the thought that I could smash my “echo dot” and no one would ever know. One quick “grab and throw” against the wall and I could go back to sleep. Instead, I rolled out of bed and threw some clothes on.

Before I knew it, I was in my car and driving across town to my gym. I don’t really remember driving to the gym, but I remember the workout.

I did a mile on an elliptical and then I did 3 sets of 6 different upper body lifts (15,12,10 reps). As I walked out of the gym at around 6am (I had gotten out of bed late and only actually worked out like 25 minutes), I was ready to throw up.

When I got home, I ate something and then I went back to bed for another couple of hours. I was exhausted. The rest of the week, I only got 1 more workout in. That first week, I only got 2 of my 5AM workouts in, but I got them in.

In week 2, my only goal was to get 3 workouts in (so that I could beat the week before). I ended up going on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday that week.

It sucked.
I hated it, but continued going to the gym and then crashing for a few hours as soon as I got home.

The funny thing was that I was starting to go to sleep a few hours early each night because I was exhausted (and because I knew that I had to get up at 5 the next day).

Without really trying, I was starting to form “rituals” so that my body could adapt to the 5am schedule.

THE IMPORTANT PART:
All I had to focus on was one simple thing. I had to focus on getting up at 5am and getting to the gym. I didn’t worry about sleep or getting in shape. I just focused on getting to the gym around 5am. This is key. Humans are terrible at the finer points of being healthy. We are pretty good at adapting to things, however.

THE BIG TAKEAWAY:
At the end of the second week, I started to notice that I was going to bed earlier (around 10PM compared to my normal 1-2AM) and falling right to sleep. The problem was that I was now waking up at 2AM and laying in bed waiting on my alarm to go off. That sucked, but I kept my focus on making sure that I made it to the gym at 5am at least 3 days a week.

What weeks 3-4 of sleeping better looked like (it was better but not perfect).

after 3-4 weeks things started to get a little easier

The next two weeks were still tough.

I was getting extremely consistent with going to bed at 10pm (even when I didn’t have to go to the gym the next day), but I was still waking up around 2am the next morning.

Instead of laying in bed pissed off that I was up so early, I started getting up and working from 2am-5am. It was extremely quiet and I was able to get a ton done.

And then a funny thing happened…
I was up anyway, so I started going to the gym another day of the week (from 3x a week to 4-5x a week). I would get home from the gym and crash for a few hours and then go about my day and get stuff done.

All of this was hard because my sleep was still unpredictable. It had just shifted a bit in where I got my 6-8 hours.

THE IMPORTANT PART:
I didn’t realize that this was happening at the time but now I realize that, during this period, I was turning my “3 days a week routine” into something that was a “5 days a week routine”. Even though my sleep was still off, I was seeing a shift into more consistency.

ANOTHER BIG TAKEAWAY:
I didn’t go to the gym and kill myself. I’m only there 20-30 minutes most days and I take it easy when I’m tired. They only thing that I’m focused on is actually getting there and going through some sort of workout.

Little did I know that things were about to take a monster shift.

What my sleep looked like after 43 days (it’s hard to explain but I’ll do my best below).

I finally figured out how to sleep better and it only took 43 days.

At about the 43 day mark of being extremely focused on getting to the gym at 5am, I started seeing big things.

  • I was going to bed at around 10PM every night.
  • I was getting up around 4:30am every morning before my alarm (consistently)
  • I was sleeping solid through the night now. I would only wake up occasionally to go to the bathroom (this starts to happen when you get older kids), but would immediately get back to sleep (unlike in the past).
  • I was no longer going to sleep after my workout. I took a small amount of time to eat and cool down (that just means watch cartoons, the news, or sportscenter) and then I was ready to go to work.
  • I was more productive between the hours of 8AM-11AM in one day than I had been in an entire week in the past.
  • My time management through the day got better.
  • I started making more time to do small things for myself in the afternoons.
  • I was starting to eat dramatically better. (I still indulge in eating “bad things” but my body wants those things less often).
  • I had this immense sense of happiness and contentment wash over me (and it actually stuck around).
  • My self confidence skyrocketed.

The most important thing about the above points are this. I wasn’t trying to do any of the above. All I was focused on was making sure that I got my ass to the gym at 5am in the mornings (which was now a solid 5 days a week).

That one “linchpin routine” was forcing my body to adapt by developing supporting routines. Those supporting routines included better sleep.

The best part?
I was more creative than ever and it wasn’t brought on by stress (all my past creativity came from “panic”).

How to Sleep Better (the secrets)

the secrets to better sleep

The most important part of this post is to understand how a “linchpin routine” finally helped me get my sleep in order.

That said, I want to talk about all of the important things that go into my sleep routine (this is the “how to sleep better” checklist)

  • I try my best to not drink any caffeine after 5PM
    (If you are a soda junky, just try to drink caffeine free after 5PM).
  • I try to load my dinner meal up with protein.
    (carbs will put you to sleep but it’s not the kind of sleep that seems to carry you through the night. Carbs always lead me to an hour long power naps and then I’m wide away and pissed that I can’t go back to sleep for hours)
  • I make my bedroom as “single purpose” as possible.
    Your bed should serve two purposes. It should be for sleep and for sex. Sleep is about routines and your bed should serve as a cue to your body that it’s time to sleep. If you also read in your bed, it can send the wrong signal to your body. Do all your reading (especially if you read on your phone or tablet before bed) in a chair outside of your bedroom. You’ll still get the relaxing effect of reading, but you won’t ruin your “bed is for sleep” cue.
  • I Make sure my bedroom is dark.
    Get rid of as much light in your bedroom as possible. Any light (especially blue light) can cue your body that it needs to stay awake.
  • I Minimize my Phone’s ability to Screw me Over.
    I get it. I read on my phone before I sleep. I’m not going to stop. That said, I do my best to make sure my phones brightness is all the way down and that I’m using only apps that offer “dark mode”. I also stay away from Video and Audio at bedtime (I tried to use relaxing audio cues to sleep for years and it never worked consistently)
  • Develop 2 distinct routines.
    This is the revelation. Good sleep comes from having 2 great routines. You need a good “go to sleep routine” and a good “time to wake up routine”. I didn’t realize this before. I only figured it out when went through the process that I’ve been walking you through. I watch an hour of tv with my wife at night after my son goes to bed. I brush my teeth and then I browse reddit for a few minutes before I pass out. In the morning I focus on my “linchpin routine” (aka my morning routine). In the morning, I am exclusively focused on getting up at 5am and getting to the gym. It’s not the gym that matters however, it’s the routine.
  • Have a “Linchpin routine” for when you get lost.
    You’re going to have events. You’re going to have vacations. Life gets in the way. The secret to great sleep is having a “path back” when you get out of your routine. That’s where the “linchpin routine” comes into play. Mine is getting to the gym at 5am. Yours might be something different. This is your “northstar” when you lose your way. It will always lead you back to good sleep.

How I screwed my sleep schedule up again (and fixed it in 3 days).

you'll make mistakes but that can be fixed

The most important lesson that I’ve learned in this journey in learning how to sleep better is that I’m going to absolutely mess up my sleep routine from time to time. I love to travel. I love going out with my friends and staying up talking into all hours of the night. I love random adventures. That’s what makes life great.

The key is that, when you mess up your sleep pattern, you have a way to get back to it again.

Recently I went on vacation and was at the beach for 7 days with my family. In the past, this would have been devastating to my schedule and my happiness. Being in a different bed every night and not having a gym to get my normal workout in would have had serious consequences.

This is where the “linchpin routine” comes into play in a big way.

Once I got back home, all I had to do to get back in my sleep routine was focus on that single routine. For me, it’s getting to the gym at 5am. Those first few days back sucked, but it was amazing how quickly my body fell back in line (it only took 3 days to get back in my mode).

The same can be applied to your situation. Once you find your “linchpin routine” (it’s a morning routine for most people by the way), you can effectively get right back in a good sleep schedule after you’ve fallen out. It won’t take 1-2 months if you focus on the “linchpin routine” as soon as you get back to your normal environment.

Conclusion

A ton of people are going to glance at pieces of this post and think…. “That’s great Ben. You started going to the gym at 5am and that tires you out to the point that you sleep better”

Those people are missing the point (and magic) of this post entirely.

The secret of how to better sleep is simply… intelligent routines.

If you’re horrible at forming new habits and routines (like I am), you just need to find the one thing that forces your body to adapt and give yourself some room to go through the process. This is your “Linchpin Routine” and will force your body to slowly build all the routines you need to sleep better (and be healthier) over a period of a few months.

So…
Don’t get to crazy about going hard and trying to overload yourself with a bunch of sleep advice from “experts”. Give what I showed you above a shot. Get up and do a workout earlier than you normally would. It can literally be a simple 5 minute workout (I recommend this one if you don’t want to go to the gym). Go back to sleep after. Take your time getting into a new routine (it took me 43 days).

The above changed my life.
Let me know how it works out for you.

Got any great tips on how to sleep better?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Post them in the comments below.

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