I’m Clayton Wood. I’m sharing with my audience insights on how to be perceptive and proactive in business. I am the founder and CEO of IdentityLabs.com. Prior to that I was managing partner at a number of the largest digital marketing brands, where I’ve helped build three brands from just a few team members to multi-million dollar revenue generating organizations.

As a published author and speaker, I have travelled the world helping businesses drive traffic, acquire new customers, enter U.S. market, brand their businesses, get publicity in major magazines across the globe.

find out how I can help your brand get more traffic

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How To Get A VIP Table Anywhere On Earth Without Paying Anything

When I think of Bond, one of the most vivid images I have is the scene where he’s sitting in the bar doing the shot with the scorpion on his wrist.

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That’s gotta be one of the coolest scenes (by one of the coolest character’s) we’ve ever seen right?

Yes I know it’s bit unrealistic, but go with me here.

See all those people watching in the background? And how much do you want to bet the bar owner heard about this?

Do you think if our friend James walks back into that bar next week he get’s whatever table he wants?

Thank God that’s not the only way to get a VIP table in a place.

It does however,  get us in that “out of the box” mindset we need to be in sometimes to reach a goal.

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Over the last few months I’ve been doing some serious research on social skills.

After being in San Francisco for a year, and recognizing that I’m an introverted extrovert, I’ve made some progress in the social anxiety realm of things.

I’ve also noticed a lot of things about the way people interact with each other, and despite the American sense of being polite to everyone on the surface, I have noticed some rather significant missing areas in the social fabric (specifically in communication) that holds us together.

I’ve realized this year that social skills are a much larger part of what makes people successful than we normally care to admit or realize.

Over the last 3-4 years I’ve made an on purposes attempt to try and improve these skills and see if there was a way to incorporate them into real world business success and personal life goals.

In this post, I’ll review what I’ve learned in a few personal trials about restaurants and fine dining. This has probably been tried before, and it does work, if you work it.

If you want to stretch your personal skills, impress clients, friends or a date, give this a shot. It’s also awesome if you just enjoy eating good food.

Hacking The Best Table In The House

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Today we’ll explore the ways you can hack the system at a restaurant to get the best table, area or the best service at a restaurant.

These hacks typically work best when the restaurant is high end or fine dining.

This works best when the head chef is a bit on the snobby side.

The Foody Method

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Warning: This method is pretty straight forward, and takes advanced people skills and active listening.

Here’s how it works.

Find a few restaurants that you know have a proud head chef. You can usually find these in your area just by looking if the restaurant is fine dining. Use Google, Yelp and anything else that will tell you what level the restaurant is at.

Your goal is to find and create a relationship with the head chef.

If you’re “his guest” you’ll get the best table, service and sometimes ever free service.

If you can’t find out who the head chef is on the internet, or on their website, call the restaurant and ask. then hang up. No need to talk to him over the phone.

Remember the most effective forms of communication are those that revolve around trust. How do you create trust in a new relationship? Spend time with them, preferably in person.

In person communication is the most effective way to build trust and communicate.

Show up at the restaurant, and show up with someone else. At least 1 other person, not a big group. Show up just when the restaurant opens so you can catch the head chef when he’s not busy.

When the receptionists greets you, say something like this,

“Hi there! (Big smile) I’m here with my friend (Introduce your friend) and we’re both big foodies. We’ve dined at some of the best restaurants in the world, and have been wanting to try yours.

But before we do, we have a couple of specific questions about how the chef prepares the food. Could you grab him for a second so we can ask?”

She’ll probably go and get him.

When she does, introduce yourself again and your friend and say a similar version of the same thing.

“Hi chef. I know you’re busy. We’ve been wanting to try your food for a very long time. We’ve heard from a few friends that it’s phenomenal, but I gotta admit, we’re pretty big foodies. We’ve been on a quest for months to find the best food in town.

We dine out a lot, and take friends everywhere, so food is a big deal for us.

We were hoping you’d tell us what you’re passionate about, and if you ever cook anything off of the menu? We love that type of stuff!”

Flattery goes a long way. You’ve told him you’ve heard his food is great, and you’ve also asked him to talk about his passion.

People LOVE talking about their passion.

Listen intently to him, and be willing to try what he’s’ having. If you ask a couple of follow up questions, he’ll probably send you the dish he’s talking about during your dinner.

Try and engage him in a 5-10 minute conversation until he can tell you’re really interested in what he’s talking about. Then tell him…

“Ok, that sounds amazing. we’m coming back on Thursday night, which table should we sit at?”

He’ll walk over the to the receptionist, and ask her to reserve you a table that’s the best in the house.

if you’re wanting to eat that night, tell him and eat. You’ll get the best table in the house, and the best service, probably with the chef himself bringing the dish out to you.

The Client Method

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This approach is going to take longer than the previous method discussed, mainly because it requires you to build a long-term relationship – and that doesn’t happen overnight. It also requires you to invest in the relationship by being a patron of that restaurant first.

Here’s how it works.

You remember that list of places you had earlier? Well, take some of those on the list and go over there. You will want to build a relationship from the ground up, so start with building a relationship with the customer-facing staff.

Introduce yourself as a foodie and equip yourself with ways to prove it if necessary. If you’ve written blogs about other restaurants and food reviews before, show them or mention it to them (“Have you read this blog? I’m a regular contributor for their food section”); name-drop people of note that you’ve recommended to their place if applicable  Get them to help you out with the orders and be very nice to them.

Once you finish your meal, tell your server how much you loved the meal and have them call the restaurant manager and the chef to express your gratitude. Introduce yourself as an avid foodie and that you will be giving your recommendation for the restaurant to everyone you know.

That should get you on their radar.

Show your loyalty – keep coming back.

So far, the process sounds similar to the previous technique. But this is where it differs: instead of getting in by flattering the chef, you build an actual relationship with the restaurant – as a loyal client.

You will have to invest both time and money for this, but there are ways you can save money while increasing your value as a client. One of the ways you can do that is to bring your business meetings to that restaurant. Chances are, the meeting is billed under your company, but because your name is on the reservation, you establish yourself as an important customer.

Get to know the people – and be genuine.

When not having a business meeting, you will have to invest yourself. Take your family, friends or special someone to that place, or treat yourself – and take the time to get to know the staff and get closer to them. You don’t have to engage them in lengthy conversations – try this, for example: “How did you get into the food industry?”

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Now remember this: because they are in the hospitality industry, they will be polite and answer any questions you may have as long as they are not too intrusive or disrespectful. But if you want to build a real relationship with them, you need to show genuine interest.

Listen really well.

The first step to showing genuine interest in them is to listen. Pay attention to what they’re actually saying! They’re giving you their full attention and their service for the next hour or two, so the least you can do is listen.

Try to remember the details of your conversation with them. These will come in handy in the next point I’m about to make.

Give them something personal.

The idea of reciprocity can be applied to social: if you want someone to give you what you want – in this case, a free VIP table – you need to give them something in exchange. Conversation-wise, this could be offering information that they need. For example, if you’re talking to a server who wants to take his career to the next level, you might suggest training programs or offer to give your assistance in the form of a recommendation – the bigger you offer, the more they will be inclined to give you what you want in return.

You can also offer to support their restaurant by bringing in customers. “I’ll get you a specific number of guests on this particular day, and in exchange I want access to your VIP table,” you can say. It’s an offer they won’t be able to refuse because you will be giving them more business in return. Get your family, friends, colleagues and their friends to come to the restaurant!

Businesswise, give them a generous tip. You’re more likely to get the best seats in the house if the staff knows you tip well. That’s the language of reciprocity they understand.

Be bold!

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If you’ve been a loyal patron for a few weeks now and you still aren’t getting the table you want, then it’s time to communicate as boldly as possible: ask to be seated in the VIP table. This shouldn’t be a problem if you’ve been bringing them a of of business.

It would help if during your business meetings, for example, you already request “I’d like the best table in the house, please” and emphasize how important your clients are. This will help them remember the next time you come back with, say, a date. The bolder you are about asking for what you really want when you bring in more business, the more you will be remembered as a VIP.

Creating That Connection

There are times when you hear people say things, and they seem to be exactly what you’re thinking, almost like you’re aligned, and the other person knows it immediately. Try to create that. Remember: the key to getting a VIP table no matter where you are in the world is to have strong connections inside the restaurant. Work on building those relationships and you’ll be getting the best seats soon.

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Don’t Hire A Marketer Until You Read This

So you’re a start-up business owner and you’ve decided it’s time to fast-track your business growth. Someone suggests that you hire a growth hacker. Congratulations, you’ve stumbled upon one of the most effective means for small and medium businesses to grow!

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Not so fast. Don’t go hiring that growth hacker just yet.

What exactly do you know about growth hacking? What kind of businesses benefit the most from it? What does it take for growth hacking to work? Don’t hire that growth hacker until you’ve read this guide – I’ll help you understand what growth hacking really means.

What is Growth Hacking?

There’s been a lot of talk about the differences between growth hacking and traditional marketing. Both focus on growing businesses through the promotion of your business offerings, particularly tangible products. Growth hacking differs from traditional marketing in two main ways:

  1. It considers online software and other intangible services products as well. It’s not limited to marketing physical products; therefore, if you’re offering cloud accounting software, that counts as a product that they can sell consumers.
  2. Its main consideration is a product’s ability to spread themselves. Thanks to the Internet, products – tangible or otherwise – now have the ability to spread themselves and reach consumers where they have not been able to before. This ability is what the growth hacker focuses on and fosters.

The growth hacker’s job is to focus specifically on growth. Marketers focus on growth as well, but they also focus on other things like branding and messaging or managing marketing teams, among other things. Growth hackers focus on strategies and tactics that drive business growth, capitalizing on a product’s natural ability to “sell itself” across multiple channels.

Who benefits the most from growth hackers?

Good question. Smaller, start-up business benefit from growth hackers more than any other business. Why, you ask?

That’s because small businesses are only beginning to establish themselves as providers of products and solutions. Their biggest selling points lie in the uniqueness of, the features of and the problems solved by their product. Marketers work better with established brands, while growth hackers help small, unrecognized businesses grow with the help of their knowledge of product and distribution.

This doesn’t mean growth hacking is exclusively found in start-ups. Growth hacking evolves as an organization gets bigger. It doesn’t focus solely on marketing your product – it also focuses on making any structural and procedural changes that drive growth. Every decision a growth hacker makes is arrived upon based on its potential to drive business growth.

Things to Remember Before Hiring a Growth Hacker

Now that we’ve established what a growth hacker is and what they generally do, it’s time to look at what you should remember before hiring a growth hacker. This is because many small businesses make the mistake of hiring a growth hacker and expecting him to do all the work at once. Take note:

  • Growing your business requires your full attention to marketing. Because growth hackers only focus on making decisions that contribute to growth, they may fail to consider other things a marketer will. This includes branding, consistent communications, marketing management (even small marketing teams will require effective management), costing, etc. As a small business owner, you need to be hands-on when it comes to marketing your product and your brand.
  • You need to establish a process between your marketing team and your growth hacker. This is important because as mentioned, a growth hacker’s priority is growth, and your marketing team’s priority is growth and everything else. You will need to create a process that involves open communication and collaboration. You also need to determine who will be the decision-maker in your absence – you will need to focus on other aspects of your business as well, which means you will have to figure out the hierarchy. Ideally, whoever is in charge of your marketing efforts should work closely with your growth hacker, and he should be making the final decisions that weigh in other business factors to ensure smooth implementation and maximized results.

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  • You will need to promote across and monitor all channels. Growth hackers use the Internet primarily to spread the word about your brand. You’ll need to monitor all channels used by the growth hacker to accurately measure engagement and goal conversions. Whether you’re checking SEO stats, running an SEM campaign, promoting your product through social, or running other online campaigns, you need to track all activities and analyze how each activity affects your business and impacts your growth.
  • Use and align all channels available. In line with the previous item, you will need to focus on more than one channel to market your product. Digital is made up of multiple factors, all of which you can use to meet different goals: UI / UX design and development to give visitors a pleasant user experience; SEO to make sure your brand and your product reach your intended target audience; SEM and email marketing to lead your customers through different stages of the marketing funnel; social media, forums and blogging to promote brand awareness & recall and establish thought leadership. Your digital strategy should be aligned with your traditional marketing initiatives – if you are participating in an event that promotes your product, for example, this should be promoted on social, while your flyers, brochures and marketing materials should promote your digital presence, etc.
  • Social is a huge part of growth hacking. Never underestimate the power of social – it’s a huge part of growth hacking because once your product goes viral on social, it will take a life of its own. Before hiring a growth hacker, make sure you have a strong social strategy in place – and that you hire a growth hacker specializing in social.
  • The success of your product depends on what it has to offer. At the end of the day, a growth hacker can only go so far to help make your product go viral. You have to give him a good product to work with. Focus your energy and resources on product development backed up by market research, and you’ve got yourself a formula for success.

What to look for in a Growth Hacker

Now that you understand how having a growth hacker works, let’s quickly look at what you should look for in a growth hacker:

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  • Must have exceptional skills in analytics. This is because growth hackers need to measure growth and rely on this data to determine their next step.
  • Must be heavily growth-oriented. Being focused on growth makes a growth hacker more persistent and unafraid to try new ideas that may get better results. It also allows a growth hacker to build on previous successes until they come up with a proven effective formula that can be scaled and improved as your business grows.
  • Must be a creative thinker. Analytical thinking is just one part of a growth hacker’s job – he must also be creative, artistic and innovative. This allows a growth hacker to come up with different strategies to position and market your product to the right market.
  • Must be proficient at all types of digital marketing. They should have more than a working knowledge of all digital marketing channels, preferably excelling in a couple.
  • Programmers an advantage, but not required. This is especially important if your product is a software, because they can suggest improvements to the program that will make it easier to sell to your target audience.
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10 Places Men In Their 30s Should Go Right Now

As a man in my 30s, I know how good it feels to be traveling at this age. I also know that as you get older, your reasons for visiting a place change – it’s no longer about what’s hip and cool, but about places that offer new experiences and adventures.

If you’re a man in your 30s with the means and the time to travel, I strongly suggest you should. It’s a great way to meet interesting people, make new connections and discover the world as you’ve never experienced it before. That said, here are the 10 places you should include in your travels:

Dubai (UAE)

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The 30s is a good place for men – it’s a time when you’re already stable and established, and you may or may not have too many responsibilities to worry about (depending on whether or not you’re single). If you’re single and in your 30s, it’s the perfect time to take yourself on a luxury trip, and Dubai is the place for that.

While you may not get to do 24-karat gold facials when you’re there, you can enjoy seeing all the Lamborghinis, exploring the city and admiring their modern architecture. The city is one of the fastest developing regions in the world, with a melting pot of cultures flocking to Dubai for rich opportunities. Get to know people from different walks of life, enjoy the lush scenery and lifestyle, and treat yourself – at this point, you deserve to be pampered.

Munich (Germany)

Munich Germany

Your 30s is a time in between – you’re young enough to still enjoy parties and alcohol, but you’re nearing that age where your alcohol tolerance level is about to decline. Enjoy it while you still can by going to the Oktoberfest in Munich. The festival runs for 16 days from late September to the first weekend of October.
If you can’t make it in time for Oktoberfest, Munich still has a lot to offer. It is a culture-rich city filled with historical architecture, museums, sports (particularly football), culinary treats and nightlife. You can always visit one of Munich’s many breweries and taste their beers if you miss the festival – make sure to try Weissbier and Helles, which are their specialties.

El Nido, Palawan (Philippines)

El Nido, Palawan (Philippines)

I lived in the Philippines for a long time, and there are many beautiful places there that I can recommend. One of the most beautiful places you can go to if you want a peaceful and exotic beach is El Nido, Palawan. It’s got enough of a nightlife to enjoy a good night out meeting fellow travelers, but it’s not as rowdy as Boracay. The beaches are pristine, the island hopping tours pack activities like caving and snorkeling to see the area’s diverse marine life, and you can also go trekking and check out protected sanctuaries.

The place is remote if you are coming from Puerto Princesa (it’s a six-hour van ride away), but there are charter planes that fly from Manila straight to El Nido. It’s the perfect location for a tropical getaway filled with adventure. Bonus tip: If you’re coming from Puerto Princesa, make a quick stop to the Underground River – it’s one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.

Prague (Czech Republic)

Prague (Czech Republic)

European cities are always interesting to visit, but if you’ve been to London, Paris, Rome or Madrid several times already, why not try something new? Prague is quickly gaining popularity among travelers, and for good reason – it’s affordable, it offers rich history (Baroque, Renaissance, Gothic, Art Nouveau, and more in one city), and it offers different activities for the adventurous traveler. A quick stroll down Old Town Square will give you a mix of good music, Prague’s best pubs, talented artists and must-try food stalls. You can also take the Vltava River Cruise if you’re traveling with a special woman in your life, or enjoy the city’s sights in style with a Vintage Car Tour.

São Paulo (Brazil)

São Paulo (Brazil)

São Paulo has three different things men like regardless of age: good food, sports (particularly for fans of fútbol), and beautiful Brazilian women. These should be reason enough to visit São Paulo! Apart from these, the city also boasts a rich cultural heritage – make sure to visit sites like the 1929 Edificio Martinelli skyscraper or the São Paulo Cathedral, visit the Theatro Municipal and the São Paulo Museum of Art, or simply jog around the scenic Ibirapuera Park.

Melbourne (Australia)

Melbourne (Australia)

We’ve been talking a lot about culture, good food and women – now let’s move on to something more exciting: sporting events. Melbourne offers a lot when it comes to a bustling nightlife and an array of beautiful women, but its real appeal to men in their 30s is its array of sporting events. Depending on when you visit, you can catch the F1 Grand Prix, the Open Grand Slam or the Melbourne Cup. Make sure to plan adequately in advance – enthusiasts and tourists flock to Melbourne when these events are taking place.

Tel Aviv (Israel)

Tel Aviv (Israel)

I’ve had the chance to visit and explore Tel Aviv awhile back, and it’s a place men in their 30s will love, especially single men. If you’re the type who’s not done partying even beyond 30, you’re in luck – visit Tel Aviv in summer to enjoy a city-wide party in their White Night celebration. Apart from being Israel’s best beach town, it’s also the center of all activities you’ll find interesting – its rich art, exploding music scene, and emerging technology are all bound to keep you busy during your stay.

Tokyo (Japan)

Tokyo (Japan)

Tokyo is known for its bustling city life and lights that rival Times Square, the rich East Asian history – the country closed its doors to outsiders for decades and reopened its doors emerging as an Asian power player – and beautiful natural sights, but there’s more to Tokyo that will catch your attention. The city transforms into a music lover’s haven during the summer, with the Tokyo Summer Festival taking place between the beginning of July and the beginning of August. Some of the world’s best artists and emerging acts fly to the country to perform. Get a chance to discover new music and enjoy older favorites. Not going in the summer? You can also enjoy the Rock in Japan Festival or the Tokyo Jazz Festival – there’s no shortage of music in the informally dubbed music capital of the region.

Hong Kong (People’s Republic of China)

Hong Kong (People’s Republic of China)

Hong Kong is a mix old world China, British colonialism and modern-day Asia – a cultural melting pot that’s sure to catch your interest. The skyscrapers aren’t the only things that will catch your attention in this former British colony, and women aren’t the only ones who can enjoy this bustling region (Hong Kong is known for being an Asian shopping mecca along with Bangkok). Lan Kwai Fong offers one of the best nightlife scenes in the world. If you’re more into sporting activities, hiking trails and sailing can keep you busy all day. Make sure to visit the Big Buddha when you go to Hong Kong and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere.

Cape Town (South Africa)

Cape Town (South Africa)

There’s something brag-worthy and magical about being able to say you’ve visited Africa. Cape Town in South Africa is a great starting point – its near-perfect weather, picturesque views and proximity to wildlife make it the perfect travel destination for adventurous thirtysomething travelers. Hike up or take the cable car to the top of Table Mountain and see Cape Town from above, enjoy its beautiful beaches, gardens or vineyards, or go see wildlife in a safari and go shark cage diving in Gansbaai – you can choose your own adventure.

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How to Make Money Online and Travel the World for Free

Many of us dream of dropping our day jobs, packing up a bag of essentials and seeing more of the world, but worry about the expenses that come with it. The expenses can easily rack up, especially when we’re discussing airfare. If you’re from a country with less powerful passports, visas may also pose to be an expensive problem.

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel a lot, and I’ve met many people along the way who have managed to see the world even on a limited budget. They’ve shared several tips on how you can travel the world for free – or, if not free, then make money to sustain your travels. I’m going to share those with you today.

Make Money On The Go – Go Online!

Get a telecommute job

Realistically, you’ll need a source of income to sustain you. Even travels that come for “free” will have incidental and unexpected expenses. That’s where the Internet comes in.

Online jobs aren’t rare anymore – in fact, if we look at the statistics on either side of the pond, as of 2013 one in five Americans already work from home, and in 2014 13.9% of all those who work in the UK are working from home. It’s also been proven that people who work exclusively from home earn more than their office-based peers. Get a job as a remote writer, an online virtual assistant or a data encoder – these are popular online jobs you can take while traveling.

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Work freelance

If you don’t want a full-time telecommute job, or if the telecommute options you are finding don’t allow much control over your schedule, you may want to stick to a freelance arrangement for the aforementioned telecommute jobs for now. You’ll have to consider the loss of benefits (if applicable) and the possible pay cut, but you’ll have more control over the projects you take, the deadlines you set for yourself, and how you can work around your traveling schedule.

Traveling for Free / for a Minimal Fee

Find work exchange programs

This is popular among backpackers and other budget travelers. There are programs that offer free accommodations and even a little bit of payment in exchange for you helping out. A good example is Worldpackers, which matches you with an inn / hostel / accommodation that lets you stay for free if you help out in the reception, the kitchen, etc. This will help you save significantly on expenses, as accommodations are one of the biggest expenses when traveling.

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Participate in volunteer programs

This is similar to work exchange programs, except you may have to pay a nominal fee to join a volunteer program. You can volunteer to help out a community while you learn a new language or culture, and the fee you’ll have to pay will cover the classes and will go towards the expenses of the community, school or establishment you’ll be helping. In exchange, you may be provided accommodation and meals, as well as an experience you’ll never forget.

Arrangements like these are common in South America and Asia, but you’ll find many establishments and communities looking for help worldwide. You’ll get to see less traveled parts of the world while helping to make a difference – that’s meaningful travel right there.

House-sitting

Another good way to travel is to house-sit for awhile. You sae on accommodations while getting to stay in a place that’s more homey than stuffy hotel rooms or hostels with limited resources and privacy. You may have to pay a minimal fee for signing up with sites advertising house-sitting opportunities, but consider that an investment in your safety.

Other similar options are house-swapping and couch surfing.

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Get a job on a cruise ship

If you’re a people person and you don’t mind lack of privacy and long working hours, you may want to work on a cruise ship. You’ll get to visit different places with tourists while making a fair amount of money. However, you’ll have to get used to spending a lot of time at sea or port, and you will have to plan your sightseeing more efficiently – you’ll only get a limited amount of time off the boat for each location you visit. Make sure to research about the pay, benefits and working conditions that come with a cruise liner you’d like to apply to.

Teach English

Native English speakers have something that may countries around the world want: good command of the English language. Many organizations around the world will pay you to teach English. You can choose to do this long-term or short-term so you can move from one country to another. The British Council, for example, has an extensive list of opportunities for travelers who want to teach English. Inclusions vary, but you’ll almost always get free accommodations, a food and transportation stipend, and you’ll get paid for the hours you put in teaching English as a second language.

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Whichever road you choose, remember to have a little bit of emergency funding stashed away for unexpected circumstances.Traveling the world isn’t impossible – you just have to jump in, get started, and open yourself up to less conventional ways of making money, and you’ll be good to go.

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Top 5 Jaw Dropping Netflix Shows for Men in 2016

Netflix has a pretty extensive selection of shows that are noteworthy, and they are making a name for producing some of the best series work we’ve seen so far. However, most of what we hear about are directed towards women. What about shows for the men?

Netflix hasn’t forgotten about us – in fact, I’ve found some pretty amazing Netflix shows that men must watch. Here’s my top 5 list of Netflix shows that are currently on that all men must watch:

Making a Murderer

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The ten-part documentary about Steven Avery’s exoneration and subsequent return to prison is a riveting watch. Filmed over ten years in New York and Wisconsin, the documentary shows how Avery served an 18-year prison sentence for the sexual assault and attempted murder of Penny Beernsten, only to be exonerated with the help of the Innocence Project. He proceeds to file a $36 million lawsuit against Manitowoc County and other counties associated with his arrest; however, he is soon accused of the murder of Teresa Halbach.

Making a Murderer is a critically-acclaimed documentary that shows the problems in the Manitowoc County’s sheriff’s department and their procedures, depicts the trial of Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey, and uses the documentary format to create an air of mystery that makes you keep watching. It has been rated 9 out of 10 on IMDB and  97% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Narcos

narcos

A good gangster drama is always on the list of men’s must-watch, and Narcos does not disappoint. The original Netflix series shows the story of Colombia’s infamously violent and powerful drug cartels and one of the most notorious drug kingpins in modern times, Pablo Escobar.

The first season focuses on Escobar’s life between the late 1970s and July 1992, when he escaped La Catedral prison. It’s got drugs, mobsters, the DEA, revenge – and it’s all based on a true story, which makes it more interesting. If you haven’t seen this series yet, now’s the perfect time to catch up – the first season was released in 2015 with 10 episodes, and the second season is about to be released this year.

Daredevil (or Marvel’s Daredevil)

daredevil

Marvel comic fans are sure not to miss this original Netflix series. The Netflix adaptation of the popular franchise is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is good news for those familiar with the films. The second season has very recently been released, so now’s a good time to binge-watch both seasons.

What sets this adaptation apart from the movie franchise and other MCU-set properties is its much darker tone. The series is critically appraised for its action sequences and performances. The first season will show you the life of Matt Murdock – blind lawyer by day, crime fighter Daredevil by night. Meanwhile, watch out for familiar characters in the second season, as the Punisher and Elektra Natchios make their appearances.

House of Cards

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This one isn’t new – in fact, its’s been around since 2013, and is now on its fourth season. The adaptation of the BBC miniseries of the same name has found new life in Netflix, and hits close to home especially during this election season. Men who are into intelligent, conniving and cunning political dramas will find a large dose of these in House of Cards.

What makes it stand out from other political dramas is that it’s a long, drawn-out story revolving around revenge when Frank Underwood does not get appointed as Secretary of State. You will find yourself doing something you’ve probably never done before: rooting for the villain. Sometimes it feels good to root for the bad guy.

Sense8

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Action, sex, and an interesting plot – that’s what Sense8 offers. The story starts a little slow during the first episode, but as you begin to understand how the eight sensates are connected you will appreciate the show more. Think borrowing each other’s smile, telepathic connection reminiscent of Midnight’s Children, a lot of hot, steamy sex scenes – this is a show that doesn’t require a lot of thinking to enjoy, and it’s something you can watch when a lady comes over.

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A No Bullshit Guide to Facebook Privacy Settings

Protecting your privacy in the age of social media can be difficult if you’re not familiar with the features of your profile. I’ve noticed many people still don’t know how to manage their privacy settings on Facebook, especially since these features are constantly changing. It’s important to know how to limit your audience and protect your information so that you don’t fall prey to online frauds – or you can just avoid having the wrong people see your posts.

Maintain your privacy and protect your information with the help of this no-bullshit guide to managing your privacy settings.

Checking and changing your basic settings

It’s easy to check what your current privacy settings are. Just login to your account and click on the padlock on the upper right hand corner of your window – this is the icon for Privacy Shortcuts. The first item you’ll see is the Privacy Checkup, also known as the blue dinosaur.

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From here, you’ll see three shortcuts: who can see your stuff, which lets you change the default privacy settings for all your posts; who can contact you, which lets you select who can send you friend requests and messages; and how to stop someone from bothering you, which let’s you block specific users. These are the basic privacy settings you need to change.

To ensure that your future posts are only seen by your preferred group, edit the privacy settings on your wall. This becomes the default privacy setting for all posts.

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Setting Up Your “About Me” Privacy

After taking care of your basic privacy settings, it’s time to decide what shows up in your About Me section. You can change the privacy for your profile sections individually, so that you can show your Current City to everyone but keep your birth date to a customized list – and even hide the year so that only you can see it!

Just go to your profile and click the About tab, and click on the Edit link for each section to open the items and set the privacy settings for each. This is especially important because your email addresses and phone numbers may be displayed in your public profile if you don’t change the privacy settings. Take the time to check each detail and set who has access to your information accordingly!

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Privacy Settings for Older Posts

Now that you’ve taken care of your future posts and your profile privacy settings, it’s time to handle the settings for your older posts – especially those posted back when Facebook didn’t offer in-line privacy selection. This was the case for older versions of Facebook mobile and Facebook for Blackberry. Unless you’ve individually changed their privacy settings, these older posts might be set in public.

You can revisit the posts and change their settings or you can pull everything from the public view first before customizing their privacy settings one by one. To do that, just make your way to the privacy shortcuts and click on “See more settings”. Under “Who can see my stuff,” you will find an option to limit past posts. You can change this so that only your friends can view the posts.

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Removing Third-Party Apps

One of the most intrusive things on Facebook that take your information and share it with advertisers are third-party apps. In order to limit the information you provide each app (or remove apps that you don’t use altogether), you have to go to your extended privacy settings. Click on See More Settings in the Privacy Shortcuts and navigate to Apps. You will see this window:

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From here, you can change the permissions on each app that is associated with your Facebook. You can also unlink an app to your Facebook so it will stop reading your data.

After fixing your privacy settings, you will also want to protect your account to ensure your information stays safe. Activating third-party authentication on your phone or login notifications on your email will help you keep track of when your account is accessed and from where. This will help ensure that your privacy is protected.

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8 Dating Traditions The Tinder Generation Need To Follow

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I hate to critique millennials, but I’ve just got to. Everyone’s in such a ‘throw away’ mentality these days and it’s ruining people’s social lives.  Every time I’m out, I see this very odd social exchange between people that ushers in a small loss of my faith in humanity.

People being creepy, rude, and generally not approachable. I think there’s a lot of learn from yesteryear’s idea of being polite and being a gentlemen. In fact, we just taught a workshop with Matthew Rodrigues of POPSUGAR on how exactly to be a gentlemen.

That said, I’ve got here a list of 8 dating traditions that you will still need to follow today.

Go on a real date, not a hang or a hook-up.

The swipe generation – that’s the action you use on Tinder to show whether or not you’re interested in a person, and it’s been adopted by other online dating sites as well – sees one major setback in using online dating apps: they rarely go out on real dates anymore. That’s because you get matches based on a quick look at someone’s profile and an average of 20 minutes’ worth of chatting before you go out. You want to make a genuine connection? Take your time talking, and ask the lady out on a real date (or if you’re the lady, wait to be asked out on a real date).

Ask at least two days in advance.

Another tradition that Tinder and other online dating apps disregard is the two-day rule of thumb – you can just swipe right, chat a little, and meet up in twenty minutes or less. Since you’ll be asking someone out on a real date, do it the traditional way: at least two days before. This gives you and your date time to prepare for that night and helps ensure your schedules are both free so you’re in no rush to leave. It also gives you time to plan your activities instead of telling your date “You decide, I’m okay with whatever.”

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Dress up and look good!

You might think that because you’ve already made a good impression on your Tinder / Grindr / Hinge / OkCupid or other online dating site profile, you won’t have to exert the extra effort to look good anymore on your date. Remember: first impressions matter, especially if you’re meeting each other for the first time! I’m not telling you to go all out in a gown and a tuxedo on your first date – just ditch the t-shirt and the flip-flops and dress up a little on your first date.

Have a meaningful conversation.

Most online dating sites and apps are geared towards hooking up, but that doesn’t really have to be the case. Dating is about getting to know each other, especially if you’re in the early days or you just met face-to-face. Don’t be afraid to talk and ask questions that give you an idea of who you’re on a date with. Just remember: small talk doesn’t count!

Put your mobile down!

The biggest challenge of dating in today’s connected world is also the biggest irony of this age: people have trouble connecting with their dates because they can’t disconnect from their mobile devices. Put the mobile phones away and give your date your full attention. It won’t hurt to put off checking your messages for a few hours – and don’t even think about opening that Tinder profile while you’re on your date!

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Don’t drink more than you can handle.

Nobody likes a drunk date – not before, and certainly not now. While a little liquid courage may help you relax in front of your date, it’s not advisable to drink until you drop on your first date. You should be sober enough to make sound decisions and to keep up a good conversation throughout the date; otherwise, you may not be mature enough to date just yet!

Let the man pay for the first date.

This rule, old-fashioned as it may sound to some, isn’t going anywhere: the man always has to pay for the first date. Some extremely independent women may disagree with me, but bear with me for a second. Let the men pay for your first date because it shows that they truly prepared for the date. When men pay for the first (and subsequent) dates, they’re not trying to undermine you as a woman; instead, it’s their way of showing that they are genuinely interested in forming a bond that could lead to a relationship with you. As for the men, show the women that you are a gentleman – paying for the first date shows a woman that you are interested.

Don’t sleep together on the first date.

Online dating sites and apps tend to encourage the hookup culture that today’s generation observes more often. As a result, we find it difficult to form real connections that merit a follow-up date – and more quality time together. If you really like your date and want to have a shot at a future, don’t sleep together on the first date. Be respectful of each other’s boundaries and take the time to get to know each other before deciding if your date is really worth sleeping with. It’s an old-fashioned rule, but it makes the sex more meaningful with a genuine connection in place.

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Here’s How to Tell When People are Trying to Screw You

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As a marketing professional and a frequent traveler, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with different types of people over the years. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about people, it’s that while many are good, there are those who will try to screw you. This is especially true if you’re traveling – people will try to overcharge you for different products and services, especially if they know you have virtually no knowledge of the market in their area.

What I’ve learned in my travels is that negotiating, regardless of whether you use it in business, for travels, or just to negotiate with someone you know, is a technical skill – and one that can be learned. Another thing I’ve learned is that you can use these negotiating skills for almost anything, with its most useful application being in negotiating for business.

So how do you know if you’re being duped? Here’s how:

The Rule of Reciprocity

The rule is pretty simple and straightforward: people will give you something back when you give them something first. In business, this usually means information.

Here’s a tip: you don’t necessarily have to share business information with the person you are negotiating with. People do business with people they are familiar with, people who connect with them on some level. It’s a traditional business negotiation concept, but one that still applies to this day: build trust and rapport. Share a little bit of personal information – pets, children, your most recent holiday. If they refuse to offer up information in return even though you feel you’ve established good rapport, you need to be cautious of that particular negotiation.

Balloon Forecasting

This is a dirty negotiation tactic that’s easy to spot because it involves figures. Some businesses give a revenue projection that is way above what their historical figures show, just to try and make a good impression.

Don’t be blinded by the projected revenue value. Instead, focus on the historical data presented to you. You can make future bonuses later when accelerated growth actually takes place.

The Win-Win Situation

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An unspoken rule of negotiations is to reach an agreement that benefits all parties involved. This is why even though it’s recommended that you go into negotiations knowing your strengths and their exploitable weaknesses, you still need to reach a consensus that makes everyone happy and gives you a beneficial win-win situation.

A good way of doing this is by following a ranking system for your priorities and comparing your rankings. For example, you may prioritize improvement in efficiencies before cost cutting, while they may put costing first on their list. Businesses that want to find a compromise are good negotiating parties; those who do not want to compromise any of their priorities may be screwing you over.

Rush Negotiations

As a general rule, you should never accept rush negotiations because more often than not, you’ll get the bad end of the deal. However, you wll encounter negotiators who will use his tactic to get the deal cuts that they want and the terms that benefit only their organization.

There are two ways of going about this: you can say no to the rush terms and walk away, picking up negotiations no later than 30 days or when they call, whichever comes first; or you can make a counteroffer. Now I have to warn you, as a general rule if you make the first offer, you hold the negotiating power. In some cases, such as this one, you could regain control by giving them an offer they are not expecting where you present a win-win situation.

It’s All About Reading People

What do all the instances I’ve mentioned above have in common? All of them involve reading people. If you think a deal is too good to be true, or is too rushed, or that there’s more to the terms than meets the eye, then these are probably true, and your deal may be worth a closer look.

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Your [Epic] Guide To Breaking Out In Your Career Using The Internet

This post is especially written to help anyone in the entertainment industry with their personal branding online, their persona and to help break them out into jobs they want to get using tactics on the internet.

The piece is written by a Silicon Valley branding executive and a Los Angeles digital branding coach, so that you get the best of both markets…the technical strategy from Silicon Valley and the industry knowledge of Los Angeles.

Social media has changed how we look at life and those around us. It’s a reflection of you, but it also has a significant impact on how people see you. Let’s face it, how you’re viewed affects tons of things in your life. How much money you make, your career, and even who you date.

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Photo Credit SocialMouths.com

Your social media persona plays a large role in that. You know this, right? Employers search your social profiles before they hire you, potentially positive networking contacts always look at you online before connecting and first impressions happen at lightning speed. First impressions are also happening in a ton of places like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram & Twitter.

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Photo Credit BufferApp.com

We’re consistently coaching and training people on how important their first impression is online and today, we’d like to point out just HOW that first impression can change things for you and how you can make a better one with your social profiles.

Job – Which one would you hire?
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or
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Dating – Who would someone rather date?
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Or
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Ok, minus the description, but you get the point about having a good photo, right?

Getting a raise – Who would you give a raise to?
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Or
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Choosing a service provider – Which is better?
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Or
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It’s pretty obvious that you’re online impression matters, but just how much does it matter? Well, we looked into to. Here are some interesting stats that directly affect your income and how it relates to how you present yourself online.

So, how can you improve it? Start by thinking about where people can see you online. This list includes:

  • Social media profiles
  • Company websites
  • Family & friends social profiles
  • Blogs or forums
  • Yelp
  • TripAdvisor
  • Reddit
  • IMDB
  • Periscope
  • Messenger apps
  • Tinder or other dating apps

This may seem rather intricate to suggest that you change all of these accounts, but believe it or not, people build an impression of you every time they see you at all of these sites.

I sat down with brand expert Phil Pallen, who works with Hollywood & TV Celebrities on their online image and got some serious insight on what most common fails he sees on people’s digital persona.

“It’s easy to get lost when it comes to your brand. You’re in it. You’re immersed. It’s tough to step back and look at the big picture.

The most common issue I see with brands’ social media accounts is a lack of strategy. People forget that every post is an opportunity to be unforgettable. (The irony of that sentence doesn’t escape me.) No one cares what you eat for breakfast, so why are you posting it? Post something of value. Make your brand indispensable.

People think that social media is all about sales. They see posts as transactional. They couldn’t be more wrong. Social media is a relationship-building tool. It isn’t for broadcast. Your fans might be interested to know in your products, but no one likes to be sold to. Don’t underestimate your audience.

Another recurring problem I see is underestimating the value for photography. Strong visuals are your biggest weapon. Instagram influencers get paid $5k to give product endorsements to brands, but it’s not just an apathetic image: These influencers creatively inject their endorsement into beautiful photography. You should look at your own brand in a similar way. Push the creative limit for photos and set a high standard for every single pic that leaves your account. Put care into your content and your audience will begin to care right back.

No matter what the major issue is, I always recommend that clients get to know their brand at a distance. Try to understand what it is that other people see. Whether it’s your best friend or a customer, do a quick survey to see what keywords are associated with your brand externally. Figure out what it is that makes your company (or you) special – and then amplify that personality online. Brand awareness goes a long way.”

Here’s how you can change your online persona and make more money.

Find Hidden Career Opportunities Right Now With 1 Change

Employers, directors and decision makers all check Facebook, Twitter & Instagram before hiring anyone. It’s just part of the process now.

As much as you’d like to think your qualifications matter, they don’t if you’ve got a bad look online.

If you think any decision maker is looking at your social profiles after you’ve auditioned or interviewed for the gig, you’re dead wrong.

As soon as they see your name on an application, a list or hear about you from a referral, they’re already looking you up.

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Know your audience, don’t post photos of you partying, and post intelligently. What do I mean by “post intelligently”? Choose things you’re passionate about, that actually matter, and post those.

Get involved in something worthwhile, and show that. Follow these basic rules about posting on social media:

  1. Be consistent (a few times per week)
  2. Be mindful (post things that matter in the long run)
  3. Best foot forward (Don’t post it if it doesn’t look great)
  4. Cross promote (Influencers or friends with a cause)
  5. Make friends with the right people (you know who that is)

A great example of following these guidelines is a friend of mine who told me he got contacted by a major cleaning brand asking him to be on their marketing team after posting this post on Facebook with their brand in it.

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Increase Jobs and Opportunities by 300% in 3 Months

A while ago, there was a website study done that showed increased traffic drastically by blogging three times per day, along with a few other things. So I decided to try it out on my corporate website, and it worked.

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If you don’t have a blog, make one. Here’s a start guide if you don’t know anything about it. If you already have a blog, you can contact us for some advanced strategies.

  1. Buy your domain name
  2. Use a blog template
  3. Start blogging at least twice a week
  4. Write about things you love
  5. Start using a publishing calendar
  6. Become an subject matter expert
  7. Write exclusive content
  8. Get a ghost writer if you can’t write

One you do this for a month or so, you’ll start to see your job opportunities increase drastically. Take a look at what I got sent to me just a week after I start blogging a lot.
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These are what we call inbound marketing leads. People that see you online, and contact you about working together.

If you do this consistently, you’ll be able to take your pick from opportunities.

Why You’re Not Connecting With Industry Insiders

Everyone knows you have to be in the right place at the right time to get meet insiders right? Well, you can do that online too.

The truth is, you’ve got a better chance of connecting with them online than offline.

Who you know is all that really matters, so let’s focus on that.

Basically, you need to be where they are online. If they hang out on Quora and look at the “Who’s the best director?” questions, then start participating on those types of conversations.

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If your insiders hangout on IMDB or have a lot of data listed there, then start participating in the comments there. Target the appropriate pages they’re listed on, and contribute however you can, either adding facts or comments.

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Whatever industry you’re in, find the blogs and forums that you can participate in. Contribute enough to make a known name for yourself. People will start to see you adding content, and it will be easier to meet them.

Each $2,000 More Per Month With 1 Easy Step

Start building an email list. If you’re an entrepreneur that has a product, you can easily earn $2,000 more per month in a few months by building an email list.

Let’s say you offer massage service to your local area, and right now you have 10 clients per month at a $200 per session price, that’s $2,000 that you’re earning now.

Imagine if you had a website with a call to action like this. Let’s also say that you started to offer 1 free session for each person that signed up for your email list. If you follow the first few steps above about blogging and making a personal website, and get a few hundred visitors each day.

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If this offer were about massage, you can assume that 10 out of your 100 visitors per day would sign up. That’s 300 new emails per month.

If you qualify them right, you could give the free massage to a limited number of them, and out of 300 new leads, 30 of those would probably repeat business with you. (At a 10% average close ratio).

That means 30 X $200 per session, with some room for drop off, get’s you an extra $2,000 per month.

Collecting emails is one of the biggest ways to increase new sales and opportunities for yourself.

Get The Respect You Need To Break Into The Industry

Every public instance of your brand is an opportunity to win someone over. And, considering that things online stay public forever, you want to make it look good.

In my book Shut Up and Tweet, I outline the importance of a first impression on Twitter, but these principles extend to all social media platforms. Your profiles should tell an audience two things: who you are and why they should care. If your profiles miss the mark on either, consider your opportunity to nail that job application, meet your future partner, or snag that new client lost. That’s how serious I am.

Here’s one secret to rocking your brand online: opt for simplicity. If everything is simple, it’s automatically cohesive. That means choosing a basic color scheme, a consistent typeface, regular filter on all photos, and straightforward copy. It may seem counterintuitive, but the less you give someone to read and see, the more control you have over which parts of your brand are registered. Siphon your brand down to its core and you’ll be pleased by how effective it is.

Meet A Listers Easily By Doing This Every Week

Learn how to network properly. Your network is arguably the single handed most important asset that you own. What’s great is it’s free, if you know how to do it right.

Tim Ferriss gives these tips and more in a recent podcast about networking. If you follow these and mine on top, you’ll end up talking to an A lister as frequently as every week.

At Conferences

  • Approach the host on stage, not the a lister.
  • Look for the guy waiting a few feet from the A lister (that’s probably his publicist)
  • Wait 2 weeks to follow up with important people you met.
  • Don’t bug people for not answering previous emails.
  • Never pitch someone that has a long line.

Take a look at this picture taken by my photographer, Larry Wong, at the 2015 Web Congress event in Los Angeles. It’s a panel discussion about the tech scene in San Francisco vs. Los Angeles….the host, a well known friend of mine, Ouali Benmeziane, probably has the best network on stage.

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In your everyday life

  • Treat everyone like they are an A lister (you’ll start meeting them if they are connected)
  • Be in the right places (Not restaurants or bars, but schools, grocery stores, etc.)
  • Connect with influencers (Photographers, event organizers & charities)
  • Understand how to work LinkedIn

Learn To Pitch Like A Super Star

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Photo Credit Pascau.com

  1. Don’t talk too much
  2. Don’t focus on you
  3. Don’t oversell the idea
  4. It’s not all about your product
  5. Tell a great story
  6. Don’t talk about pricing too early
  7. Don’t hard sell in a pitch
  8. Make sure to solve a problem
  9. Don’t expect a product to sell itself
  10. Don’t use the term “fees”

Here’s a great example of a pitch deck by Dave Mcclure did that got amazing responses and lots of traffic on Slideshare. Study and learn folks.

Let’s face it, you need to be remembered if you want to get anywhere with a pitch. So let’s focus only on that, how to be remembered. Nothing else really matters.

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Write this down. The main components of any good pitch are:

Part 1 – A great story
It’s always necessary, so make or find some great stories.

Part 2 – A trip wire
Something that’s too good to be true, but it, so the audience will listen.

Part 3 – Solve a problem
Otherwise, no one will care, buy, remember, or even stay for the pitch.

Part 4 – Awesome creatives
Simplicity rules, alternatives (like Prezi.com) make people notice.

You’re Losing 77% Of Your Audience When You Do This

Facebook.com today classifies watching a video longer than 1 second as a “view” for their statistics. That’s an indication that people have incredibly short attention spans.

That doesn’t just count for strangers viewing you, that includes your friends and family.

Bottom line, if you don’t speak well and express emotion, you’re getting ignored.

If you want to be regarded as a credible person, get more job opportunities, increase your salary, get noticed and more gigs, take some acting or speaking classes. Here’s two great ways to get tons better at public speaking quickly.

Toastmasters.org Speech Class

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Acting Class

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When you don’t hold someone’s attention for longer than 12 seconds, you lose 77% of your audience.

Start Marketing Yourself Through Your Current Job
(Bonus for office job audience)

Start blogging on your company’s blog. This is the fastest and easiest way to start getting some publicity for yourself.

Here’s how a good blog page should look.
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Photo Credit cpcstrategy.com

Think about it, you probably know a lot about your current job role, and your marketing department probably wants to share how great all the expertise is, right?

If your writing isn’t good, or your sentences aren’t up to par, start using the Hemingway app to help you get better at writing.

Here’s how it looks
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It’ll highlight the bad sentences so you can focus on changing them to something better. You’ll save 50% more time using this app. It’s paid, but worth it.

If you can, start participating in blogs posts either by getting quoted in a post, or by writing one yourself. A good pro tip here is to start practicing writing so that you’ll be easily accepted. Here’s a great guide on how to be a good writer.

We’ve ran across so many clients over the years from corporate execs to actors that don’t understand that their style is being watched all the time.

We’ve see clients who have gotten some publicity and get randomly photographed and then get mocked publicly because they drive something ugly or dress frumpy.

Taking the time to give your online image the makeover it deserves will result in more attention, more opportunities, and more money for you. We’ve been helping clients do just this for years, and these are the principles that hold true.

You’re getting judged by how you look online constantly, make sure you look great.

About the authors

Clayton Wood

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Clayton is a brand and digital marketing expert that runs an agency in San Francisco and helps people and brands generate traffic and business growth. You can check him out at ClaytonWood.org or on Twitter @ClaytonWWood

Phil Pallen
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Phil’s is a branding guru from Los Angeles who works with personalities and brands in the media get more exposure online. He’s helped some of the most intrumental personal brands online and you can read more about him at PhilPallen.co or on Twitter @PhilPallen

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How To Develop An Unforgettable Compelling Writing Voice

A few months ago I was in Japan riding on a train to Kyoto and was listening to a Podcast. It was by Dave Asprey and he was interviewing someone about relationships and how they are affected by what we eat, and the way we treat our bodies.

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The gentleman had a book coming out, and it was one of the most interesting podcasts I’d ever heard. I was immediately changed for the better. The insight about chemically reacting to foods and other substances, and how that affected your relationship was inspiring.

What’s more interesting is that about half way through the podcast, I picked up on something that I’d been thinking during the entire broadcast, which was, “This guy seems really familiar.”

Then, at one point during the Podcast, the host mentioned the author’s older book, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, and I realized that I know this guy. My Mom recommended me read this book a long time ago.

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Photo Credit Rochester.edu

Despite hearing the author’s name all throughout the podcast, it was only his voice, worked choice, and previously acclaimed book that I recognized.

That’s what I want to talk today about to you. Developing a branding voice, an author voice and a writer voice that will become memorable for decades.

But first things first…let’s imagine that you’re not writing yet.

I can’t explain how important writing is as a marketer, or as a professional. Either way, you’ve got to start writing and contribute somewhere.

If you’re not writing, but want to get started in the easiest way possible. I recommend starting to publish on these platforms. They’re fast, easy, and you probably have an audience already there.

Facebook
The best place to do this, outside of the normal status update, is in the notes section. In the near future, it’s rumored that Facebook will upgrade their Notes platform to compete with some of the other top blogging platforms out there.

I recommend getting started early. Here’s a piece I did earlier this year, and how it looks.

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The piece goes on with visuals and content to teach one of the marketing courses I presented at UCLA in Los Angeles.

The Keys here are to rotate using images and text, and write hard sell copy. otherwise you’ll lose a Facebook viewer that typically may not be on Facebook to learn something.

LinkedIn
LinkedIn’s blogging platform has made some massive amounts of traffic generation over the recent months. What this means for you is that you can publish a blog here, with no technical blogging knowledge, and anyone connected to you will see it.

Here’s what a good one looks like from my friend Leonard Kim.

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Medium
This may be the most popular latest blogging platform. It’s great because you don’t need technical knowledge of websites, and you can still put something up to refer your friends to.

Here’s a great one by my friend, TV show Host and outdoorsman, Jonathan Legg.

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What you need to remember about publishing to Medium, is that you’ve got a lower chance of anyone seeing it, unless you’ve got a bigger audience on Facebook or somewhere else.

How to get a voice that’s memorable when writing

What’s interesting here is that you don’t have to be very skilled writer to develop a good voice. You can develop your voice along the way and be memorable the entire time.

Here’s how to do it…

Tell an awesome story. People love stories, so getting good at storytelling is critical here. Here’s a great resource you’ll benefit from reading up on. Storytelling is an art, and people that do it well, command attention when they talk (or in this case write).

Practice like this. Walk into a social gathering, or group of friends and say something like “listen carefully guys….the other day…I was…” and what you’ll find is they’re automatically hanging on every word you’re saying. Learn how to keep that attention, and you’ll be a great story teller.

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Photo Credit fourthsource.com

Learn to write in short bursts. What I’m talking about here is the popularized idea of how Hemingway wrote his content. Choose the shortest path to writing the sentence.

Sentences that are too long lose an audience quickly. Hemingway popularized the idea that the fewer words the better.

Here’s a great app to help if you struggle with writing sentences too long. This app will actually highlight words that can possibly be taken out.

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Work on vocabulary. Good word choice can be remembered more than the content in some cases. Learning how, when and what to choose is an art. It might not be the easiest thing to learn, but start with your verbal talking, and studying and you’ll get better.

Here’s a great way to learn a new word on a consistent basis.

Another great way to develop a distinct voice in writing is to try and incorporate a new word into your writing in every new piece.

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Write consistently every day. Even if its just 500 words or so, write every day. If you don’t feel confident about publishing it, don’t. Here’s what I do recommend doing with what you write down though.

  1. Showing it to a friend and getting feedback.
  2. Reading over the writing the day after.
  3. Submitting it to an inexpensive editor.
    This will give you some immediate feedback on how you’re doing, and what changes you need to make to improve your writing. Editors know exactly what to look for and how to nicely tell you to change.

Know your audience and write things they want to read. If you’re into politics and all of your Facebook friends are, then you may want to consider writing something about that.

Here’s political commentator Ann Couture’s social media. She’s a political figure and has high engagement with her audience because her voice is memorable, and she stays on topic (in this case, politics).

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Describe yourself in three words. Something I did when researching this blog post, and it helped me a lot, was writing three adjectives that describe me.

So go for it…

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Photo Credit dcthriftymom.com

If you’re describing yourself as “smart, calm and focused’ then try to stick to that in your writing. breaking these down and understand how you live this way are also good topics for blog posts.

If you don’t know what you are, ask your friends.

Write down who your ideal reader would be in real life. This practice is borrowed from writing customer profiles for a business. Here’s a great template on how to do this from HubSpot.com

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Once you’ve got these written down, you’ll automatically start writing with them in mind. What’s great is that the exercise helps you understand what we call “peripherals”.

What the user likes, what his family looks like, what his income is, etc. All of these things will come out in your writing in small ways once you know who your ideal reader is.

Use your cultural influences as references. You can see me doing it all through this piece, right? I’m talking about stories and people that I listen to, and that I think you’d benefit from.

Do the same in your writing. A great place to understand good cultural reference are in.

  • The books you read.
  • The movies you watch.
  • The people you’re connected to socially.
  • Reporters you like.
  • Family.
  • Friends.

Use these for reference points in writing.

Make sure you’re referencing properly. Here’s a really good website to bookmark so you’ll understand how to reference in writing correctly.

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Overall, think Wikipedia in terms of referencing or citing different sources. These guys do it great.

When you’re developing a unforgettable ‘voice’ don’t forget to just free write. When you just start puttingthings down on paper, it really helps get you into the habit of writing.

The thought process is constant production, so you’ll need to train your brain to work like this.

The benefit is lots of eyeballs, self accomplishment, and new opportunities that you may not have had before. Communicating your passions through writing is one of the most rewarding experiences ever. Happy writing.

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