Do you know about The Empire Strikes Back Effect?
You see, The Empire Strikes Back is a really funny movie…
…not ha ha funny either.
I mean it’s the kind of funny that leaves you thinking you’re not quite sure how you feel about it.
It drops you off at a really dark point in the story with all these cliffhangers…all these open loops.
Sure, from 2018 we might look back on it as one of the greatest films ever created but in 1980 when it was released…
…people didn’t feel like that.
Think about it…they had waited 3 years from the original Star Wars until The Empire Strikes Back came out.
And it would be 3 MORE years until Return of the Jedi closed all those storylines that Empire left people hanging on.
From Luke losing the duel, his hand, and maybe even his mind a little bit to Darth Vader, to Han Solo being encased in carbonite…
…let’s face it The Empire Strikes back ended our heroes on a dark note.
It was met with mixed reviews too.
People weren’t quite sure how they felt about it but honestly…I think they were mad because they got left on all those major cliffhangers.
They got no closure.
Years later, we love The Empire Strikes Back. We hail it as maybe the best Star Wars movie EVER! But we get the luxury of having a 3rd movie to watch.
They didn’t have that back in 1980.
So what the hell is my point here?
Why am I talking about The Empire Strikes Back for God’s sake and what the hell does that have to do with making money online?
It’s something I discovered when I started mentoring people.
A weird phenomenon.
You know how people always say that once they figured out they could make their first dollar online they were off to the races and they never looked back???
Yeah, that’s not true for everyone.
Some people experience a little success online and when it comes time to rinse and repeat they run into all kinds of trouble.
It’s like an effect that comes over people after they have achieved a little bit of success, but not as much as they had pictured in their minds…
…and now they know what they have to do to truly win.
A whole bunch more of what they just did.
Only now…nothing is new…or at least it doesn’t feel new anymore. The novelty is worn off.
Now comes the rinse and repeat portion that you always hear marketers talking about.
You know…”let me show you this easy way to make money online…then you just rinse and repeat until you’re RICH!”
Nobody tells you what that’s like, “rinsing and repeating.”
It requires more discipline and dedication to stay with it, than when you had never done it before and everything was brand new.
The truth is there is MORE to learn and there is another frontier. The place you were trying to get to…
…only to get there you have to slog through a bunch of stuff that you have already done before and that isn’t exciting.
It’s kind of just a bunch of work.
That must be how Luke Skywalker felt at the end of The Empire Strikes Back.
Here, he thought that he was going to go duel Darth Vader and save the galaxy…
…but all that happened was he lost his hand, got his butt kicked and figured out that Darth Vader was actually his dad…
…He must have been hanging from that antenna thinking…
“damn…this is going to be much harder and take way longer than I thought…I have really underestimated my task. And on top of that my dad is a freaking Level 60 Douchebag!!!! Damn it!”
(wait until he figures out Princess Organa is his sister lol)
Anyways, to me…
…the greatness of Empire Strikes Back is that the fans watching the movie were left in a similar emotional state as Luke and the rebels when it comes to the story.
They wanted to know what happened. Instead they got left with a bunch of crap where NONE of their heroes won at all!
It sucked. Zero Closure.
It’s a lot like the first time someone launches a product. They might have won a little bit…
…saw maybe a little profit and put some valuable buyers leads on their list…
…but for the most part they are hanging from an antennae thinking…damn now what the hell am I supposed to do…
…I have to do ALL THAT AGAIN???
It’s the Empire Strikes Back Effect and my friends the struggle is real.
This is a point where many newer marketers give up.
They have experienced a little success but they have worked hard for it.
And now they think they know what’s behind all the hidden doors. How everything works and why everything happens.
Now they are left with the…”rinse and repeat.”
That can feel frustrating and boring.
And many times they go running into the warm and waiting comforting arms of the next shiny object sitting in their email inbox.
And the cycle begins again. It’s ironic and paradoxical.
ANd this is how people get demoted and stay at the bottom of the “marketing pile” for years.
I want you to take comfort in something here.
Luke Skywalker did not give up at the end of The Empire Strikes Back.
He went on to become a badass Jedi Knight and defeat Darth Vader.
Many of you set out to accomplish something online.
Learning how to do something and seeing a little success with it is a great benchmark for the future.
It proves that you are on the right track.
But you have not accomplished what you set out to yet.
Do not fall victim to The Empire Strikes Back effect and give up here.
True success online has allies.
The ability to learn from failures.
And The ability to adjust strategy.
These things have gotten me further than anything else.
As a coach and mentor to quite a few people now I can tell you without a doubt that…
…lots of people give up after they have seen a little success. They lose a few of the critical allies of success, namely ambition and consistency.
Don’t be that person.
Knowledge is power and now that you know about The Empire Strikes Back Effect, you can be ready for it.
Go forth, conquer, come on back whenever you need another Star Wars analogy lol!
That’s all I got!
The truth is no one ever succeeded at anything by having the most options. By knowing the most ways to do something or having the most tools…
…You don’t need to be the smartest person in the room to succeed. You do need to be the most certain. The most clear.
Success in business and in life is earned through clarity of vision and purpose.
On social media, everyone has an opinion. I do, you do, your neighbor who judges you because you don’t cut your grass often enough does…
Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in somewhere?
I know someone who has.
The Man of Steel was born on a planet far away that was pretty much destroyed when he was born.
And although he resides on earth, and fights the good fight, he is not one of us.
I love that movie Gladiator. Have you ever seen it?
It’s set in ancient Rome around the time that Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the great stoic philosopher was in power.
I think it’s really cool because it’s about a guy who just wants to be a farmer, and hang out with his wife and kids, but he can’t because he has this very special skill set.
His name is Maximus, and he is a great soldier and leader of men. So of course the Emperor needs him to command his Army. Keep in mind, Maximus has been away from his family for 3 years…
I remember this one point in the movie, he turned to his assistant Cicero and asked him if he found it hard to do his duty.
Cicero looks at him and said:
I want to take you behind the scenes of my most recent product launch, Talk Show Empire. I admit to struggling to put this post out. It requires me to humble myself. But I do so in the spirit of helping others succeed.
At the end of the day, it’s not about me and it never was. It’s always been about you.
PART ONE – THE SET UP
Step 1. Turn off your computer, go to the park and take a walk.
Step 2. Get a pen and a piece of paper and find a quiet place. Write down a plan to be successful online. Give yourself 12 months to achieve this.
Step 3. Come to terms with the art of not playing it safe. Adopt a strict “beat fear into submission policy.” Accept the worst that could happen for what it is, your fear trying to keep you in a comfortable miserable place.
Step 4. Take your 12 month plan and break it into 4 three month quarter plans. Each should move you closer to your 12 month goal.
Step 5. Take your 4 quarter plans and break them into monthly, weekly and then daily do lists.
Step 6. Execute. The best laid plans are meaningless unless you respect them. Take action on your daily tasks. Get things done.
Step 7. Understand that the true key to success is to keep moving forward. Take time to celebrate your victories and to understand your losses but only a day or two. To win here you must keep moving forward.
Step 8. Respect your time. Give a dedicated amount of time each day to practical tasks that move your business forward. Your family and friends do not need to understand. They only need to understand that this thing is important to you. Success leaves clues. Some of those clues are scars.
Step 8. If you falter, see Step 6.
Step 9. If you grow cowardly, and you will know by the extreme uptick of second guessing and hesitation…see Step 3.
Step 10. Own every decision, every failure, every success like a boss. Blaming others is for victims. Blame yourself and fix it.
I have. Literally and figuratively.
Not long ago I found myself painted into a pretty interesting corner.
You see, I make my living on the internet, and that is incredibly liberating because I set my own schedule, call my own shots, and just generally do all the things a boss does.
It’s good to be the boss.
So good that you might overlook a couple little details. Details like spending more time staring at a computer screen than walking around in the real world.
Who ever set out to build an entrepreneurial empire and imagined themselves staring at a screen all day like some mindless robot drone?
Not me man. That’s not my idea of a good time.
And yet…it was my reality.
I would be on the desktop…
I would be on the laptop…
Checking emails on the tablet…
Watching videos on the mobile…
…then for fun? You guessed it…xbox and netflix with a side of Hulu for good measure.
I started doing the math and I realized that I was literally spending more time staring at screens than actually looking at the REAL world.
It was kind of terrifying. It’s not just me either.
I was reading an article last year that said people are now spending an average of 8 hours and 41 minutes on electronic devices.
That’s 20 minutes more than they spend sleeping.
Basically we are getting to a place where we are just always connected.
It seemed somehow wrong to me to always be “connected.”
It has a sinister feel to it, like that movie “Needful Things” where the old guy in the Boutique is giving people all these cool items that help them…
…but really he’s the devil and everyone who gets one of those items is F*CKED!
Yeah, maybe I watch too many movies but that’s the kind of feel it has to me when you say people are spending more time staring at screens than doing anything in the real world.
I had an idea.
I wanted to know something.
What would I do if I didn’t spend ANY time online staring at screens?
How would I spend my day?
What would I think about?
Would I be productive?
How would I entertain myself?
What would my life look like if I took things back to 1995 for a day?
Challenging I know, since the internet is actually my job…but I never backed away from a challenge before.
So I decided I would spend 24 hours straight “off the grid” so to speak.
Nothing that involved me staring at a “black mirror.”
I thought that it would be a day filled with anxiety, fidgeting and boredom but what ended up happening to me was actually so eye opening that I have decided to go off the grid like this for 24 hours…
…every. single. week.
Here are 5 of my takeaways from disconnecting for 24 hours straight:
ONE – The world slowed down
One of the first things I did that morning was buy a newspaper because I figured I’d need something to do.
What I noticed was that I casually spent the entire day coming back to various parts of the paper and taking in the news. I felt like I was controlling the narrative of my life a little bit more.
I wasn’t just being blasted with a steady stream of new content. I picked that paper up and put it down as I went about my day. It was nice and it felt like the world had slowed down.
One thing that bugs me about the world today is how fast everything appears to move. News and information zip along at a blindingly fast pace.
I truly do not think we as a society even have time to process most of it anymore before we are bombarded with the next thing.
TWO – I actually enjoyed reading
I didn’t just skim. I must have bought a newspaper no less than 5 times in the last 5 months and never even got past the front page.
This day was different.
This time I was actually enjoying the ritual of reading the newspaper. And when my kids got home I gave them the comics section. It was a good feeling.
THREE – Going clear
As the morning turned into the afternoon I was thinking more decisive than normal. Decisions were coming a little easier. Things didn’t seem quite so jumbled.
I noticed that the majority of the articles in the paper were negative in nature or presented problems. Everything except the ads…
…they were pretty positive.
I saw an ad that took up a whole page that was done like it was supposed to be an article. It was cool because it was a hero’s journey style sales copy. It had pictures and testimonials and the pitch was at the bottom.
It made me smile because it was well done and I thought it was cool. It was the most positive thing in that whole paper.
I know because I counted all the articles and kept score of the negatives, the positives, and the ones that presented problems to you (I.E. The homeless problem downtown is at an all-time high and the temperatures are dropping for the winter.)
The only positives in that whole paper was the sales copy of ads.
What do you think the meaning of that is?
I don’t think I would have had the focus to mess with it or even notice it in my normal life. Let alone fathom what it meant.
FOUR – Remembering Projects
As my focus improved I started remembering things that I wanted to get done that had been put off for months because I just felt there wasn’t enough time.
The internet makes you feel that way.
It speeds you up to this pace of content and you have this underlying feeling that you don’t have time for a lot that doesn’t have to do with being online…
It was an illusion.
I had the time.
I got these curtains put up in our house that my wife had wanted up for a while…
…I got some doorstops mounted that I had bought last month…
…and a book called, “How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative” that had been sitting on my bedside table for 5 months…
…I finally started reading it.
I had felt like I just didn’t have the time. That book had sat right next to my tablet for months which I always had time to pick up every single night.
I read 150 pages of that 256 page book. It has been a long time since I read that much of any one thing. A renewed sense of focus I guess you could say.
The book was absolutely fantastic and eye opening.
FIVE – Ideas come flooding through
I noticed that when I slowed the world down, ideas started coming to me. Ideas for products, for blog posts, for youtube videos.
I started the day with a blank composition notebook for any ideas that might come to me. In the morning I remember staring at it with a pen and just thinking…God…I have nothing to say.
So I gave up and started reading the paper. As the day went on though I started coming back to that little composition notebook and sketching out concepts for products. Notes for blog posts. Even ideas I had for songs.
I’m a musician but I haven’t written any new songs for years now or even played my guitar for months.
This article you are reading now was actually something I thought up that day when I didn’t “connect.”
It felt like as I disconnected from “devices” I began to reconnect to self.
SO WHAT THE HELL IS THE POINT?
Here is what I believe.
There is good in the world, there is bad in the world, and then there is balance.
I do not think the internet is a bad thing. I like the internet. It changed my life for the better.
But I think that sometimes something so interesting comes along that if you are not careful you can get lost inside it.
The idea of having the world’s knowledge at your fingertips is one such thing.
A place where you can learn about anything, get instant validation and feedback for any ideas you might have, hear any song, watch any movie…
It reminds me of when Friedrich W. Nietzsche said, “”He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.”
I’m not interested in becoming a monster and I’m not interested in the abyss staring back into my soul.
I will take 24 hours off every week from now on to reconnect with reality a little bit. I think it’s important.
What about you?
How has the internet changed the way you live your life?
What the hell did Friedrich W. Nietzsche mean when he started talking about monsters and abysses?
Let me know!
That’s all I got! See you in the next one!
The 10 Rules of Bohemian Marketing
As I write this, I am listening to the Dandy Warhols play Bohemian Like You. Are you familiar? Better go put it on if you’re going to read this.
What does it mean to be Bohemian?
Bohemian – a person who has informal and unconventional social habits, especially an artist or writer.
Is that you?
If you want to be successful in this online space where Barbarians slay Dragons and Wizard pull bags of gold out of thin fucking air…
…it better be.
Case in point…
“Cloud Money: A White Trash Guide to Producing Wealth on the Internet”
It’s a product about creating and selling digital assets.
I launched it for 4 days.
That “White Trash” thing got a lot of people talking. Some good, some bad, but a lot of energy.
And when the dust settled 4 days later Cloud Money, my funny little course with the politically incorrect name had generated $10,426.67.
RULE 1: Be Polarizing
The Collector looks at information products like Stephen King novels. He finds the product vendors that he likes and he kind of attaches himself to them like authors.
When they release a new product he buys it.
When they send out a new email he opens it.
He collects their products, never really taking action on any of them but just being entertained by them. Many times the collector doesn’t even realize he’s a collector.
Many times it’s a subconscious act. He thinks he’s being productive by following the teachings of his most favorite internet marketing gurus, but in reality he’s just being entertained by them.
Many times the collector understands that he is not making money because he is not taking action. He has a sense for it but doesn’t have the urgency to change it in most cases.
I don’t mind the collector. If severe ambition and a penchant for execution did not haunt me, I myself might be a collector. My grandfather was a collector of coins, guitars, and even cars.
I like collectors.
It’s always, “What are you going to do to make that BIG money on the internet?”
Sell information products? Start an Amazon Niche site? Maybe…do some YouTube vlogging?
The “what” is seductive. There are a lot of “what’s” out there to choose from.
The “what” is like a long cool woman in a black dress, smiling seductively at you as she walks by…
Perfect lips, perfect hips, sets your mind reeling and then…
You have mail.
Surprise, surprise…looks like she has some competition (aka your inbox just slammed you with another bizop bro)
Well, well, aren’t you the wild stallion.
“What’s” are everywhere in this land. They multiply like those furry little creatures from the Gremlins movies. You remember them? Mogwai, I think they were called.
Anyways…you feed those damn Mogwai after midnight and ALL hell breaks loose. That’s when they turn into those hellish little ugly bastards that break everything.
Maybe that means you should stop opening email after midnight…
The point is…the “what” is common.
It get’s a lot more difficult for people with the “how.” You see…all these “what’s” come with manuals and courses and audios and step by step trainings and 2 hour webinars complete with 5k backend upsells designed to teach you the “how” to your chosen “what”…
…but at the heart of it…
…sometimes the “how” can be very hard. And when you ask them, “but how?”
No one ever tells you “very carefully, with a little luck, and eventually maybe…”
But they all probably should.
“How” is not a long cool woman in a black dress.
“How” is your gaslighting psychopathic ex who is more than happy to make you think you are doing good…
…only to slam you down with the reality of your failure and laugh in your face (aka you wasted more money on another dumb course and that shit did not work at all).
Do not despair…
There is yet hope…
The truth is you should have started this journey in a different place. Elusive as it might be…
“Why” is where you should have started this journey. Forget the what. Forget the how.
What about how we find the “why?”
Because the “why” is a golden child.
Like that 80’s movie “The Golden Child” with Eddie Murphy?
The one where a Tibetan boy, the mystical Golden Child, is kidnapped by the evil Sardo Numspa, humankind’s fate hangs in the balance?
On the other side of the world in Los Angeles, the priestess Kee Nang seeks the Chosen One, who will save the boy from death?
Eddie Murphy was the chosen one…
You remember that?
Well buckle up buttercup…you’re the chosen one now.
The “why” is you’re golden child.
The year was 2009.
‘We make great computers. They’re beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly. Wanna buy one?’
‘Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user-friendly. And we happen to make great computers. Wanna buy one?’
Apple started with “why.”
So says Simon. So agrees I.
But my question is this…
Do you have a why for trying to do what you do?
Or are you still chasing that long cool woman in a black dress?
If you are out there right now and you find yourself reaching and failing, reaching and failing…
First off, do not despair for we all reach and fail, reach and fail…
But maybe…just maybe…
YOu could get closer to success, if only you had that ever elusive “why.”
So tell me now.
I’m Kam, some people call me ZeroFatz and that’s all I got!