Category : Entrepreneurs


Gary Vee Is a God to Me. But Not for His Hustle Gospel.

Gary Vaynerchuk Melbourne

(Pictured: Me and Gary Vaynerchuk in Melbourne)

There are people who hate Gary-Freaking-Vee.

I understand why. In the early days he told us to work our faces off and dropped a lot of f-words. As a result, burnout culture went mainstream.

The huge problem I have is that Gary changes from year to year. The early Gary was a lot more cocky, polarizing, and hard to stomach. Watch the videos of his live events, where people ask questions to him and he rips their face off with his answers.

It makes sense that Gary could be viewed as a selfie-loving Hitler.

Here’s what is missed: it depends on what version of Gary Vee you know. 2021 Gary is not the same as 2014 Gary.

Over the years Gary has softened. He’s matured. He’s quietly changed his message behind the scenes. Many people still see images of Gary Vee 2014 telling them to work 18 hours a day and to stop being a lazy ass.

It’s dumb to completely cancel someone because of one thing you don’t like about them. There are parts of Gary I dislike, but ultimately, what Gary Vee can teach us is far more important.

Screenshot of Gary Vaynerchuk’s LinkedIn. You can see how his message has changed.

Innovation gets the big rewards

Gary did email marketing when it wasn’t cool. He made his dad’s wine business into a Youtube show when nobody did it. He went all-in on social media when people weren’t sure about Instagram and Twitter. He was right that kids and TikTok would go mainstream.

And the biggest innovation of all, NFTs, is what many people are missing. If you want to see the potential of NFTs then watch what Gary Vee does, and seriously, forget all the stuff he has said in the past.

Gary has taught dinosaur businesses, like beer company Budweiser, about NFTs. He’s been able to transcend the hyperbole and find practical uses for NFTs that the rest of us will be using for decades to come.

Even crazier, Gary is working with Mark Zuckerberg to put NFTs into the metaverse. The project slipped out during an interview a few weeks ago. Most people didn’t see it.

The metaverse is a digital world we could all live in one day, where we pop on our VR goggles and go to work inside of it. Gary is a big part of that shift. That transcends any mediocre views he has about how many hours a person should work. Who cares. Zoom out.

His LinkedIn completely screws with micromanagers and dictators. It’s changing an entire culture.

Gary’s content on LinkedIn is different. He has aimed a bazooka at many of the people who make our normal jobs hell.

Every day he posts content about how leaders need to get over themselves, how we need to be okay to fail at business, how we should ignore our parent’s hopes for our careers, how we should treat each other better at work.

Then there’s his leadership philosophy. He points out the silliness of micromanagement and dictator-style leaders. As a result he has one of the largest audiences on LinkedIn.

There isn’t a leader I’ve worked for who hasn’t seen at least one of his LinkedIn posts. He’s telling our bosses what we can’t say — because if we did, we’d get fired. This is a huge service to society that is overlooked.

How do we change work culture?

We change the conversation and have people who can reach our bosses, like Gary, tell them to stop being stupid adult babies that run around in diapers and create office politics so their egos can feel good and they can get a pissy little promotion.

Screenshot of Gary’s message to bosses on LinkedIn

He’s good for entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is promoted on platforms like Instagram as the holy grail. Strange people in designer fashion drive Lambos and tell us to start businesses. They make it sound so damn easy.

Gary speaks the truth about entrepreneurship. He tells people on his podcast and at his live events that entrepreneurship is hard. He paints a realistic picture of what it’s like, rather than glamorizing it so he can sell tickets to a $2 seminar that won’t help anybody.

Sure, the message isn’t always perfect. I don’t agree with every word of his business advice. But what I love is he tells people to have a go. He lowers the standards. He tells us to stop romanticizing entrepreneurship and just get on with the work of earning a living doing what we love. Geez, I wish more people would share this message.

We have to stop demonizing losing. Losing is epic, I swear. Losing is like being alive — Gary Vee

Humility radiates off him

My views of Gary aren’t entirely anecdotal like many of his critics. I met Gary when he came to Australia. I thanked him in person for his book “Crush It,” which helped me start writing online seven years ago.

He gave me his phone and asked me to record a video so he could reflect later. He said something along the lines of “It’s all you man. Keep going.” I watched him interact with other people while, as a complete stranger, I had his phone in my hand.

The whole experience just felt like “this guy is actually a good human being.” A few of my friends have worked for Gary and say similar things about him. It’s hard to judge him solely on his online presence. A lot of who he is, is lost in the nuance of social media. You can easily think he’s somebody he’s not.

I’ve given up looking for perfect heroes. They don’t exist.

It boils down to this

Gary is a god to me because he’s left a lasting impact on my life. The 2021 version of Gary Vee is nothing like the original person people dismissed, or even canceled.

Gary has shown us the power of innovation, shifting culture, realistic entrepreneurship, and humility. This is a gospel we can all learn from to achieve our goals in life. Everything else is noise.

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It Has Been Three Hard Months Since I Quit My Job

How to quit a job. Three months afer leaving a job

Photo by Daria Magazzu on Unsplash

Quitting a job sounds easy-peasy.

Try it … I double dare you.

It takes all the courage you’ve got to cut off your income — especially during a global pandemic. I felt ungrateful for leaving a high-paying job in tech behind. A lack of gratitude prevented me from making the decision for months.

Since I left, my boss got fired. He was a nice guy but had a habit of leaving behind a trail of disasters, due to the job being outside of his skill level. They fired him and were pretty blunt about it. To save face, they let him pretend he was quitting, although everybody knew that to be a lie.

Had I been given a chance, I would have told him to simply quit and admit his failures. Instead, he told everybody all the great things he achieved. “Revenue is exploding because of me.”

What he failed to mention were the plummeting profits that were the result of him discounting the shit out of our services like it was a fire sale at Target. Still, making mistakes is how we learn. Nobody is perfect, including me.

Since my departure from corporate life, I’ve learned a lot.

The day you quit all hell breaks loose

My mind saw quitting as a fairytale. The first version of the roleplay went like this: “Screw you guys, I’m out.” That’s the ego talking, and a huge ego will ruin your life. Don’t do it.

The second version allowed my wiser self to plot the exit plan. I took the sensible approach and quit with respect. No corpses were left in the office hallway as I exited the skyscraper of broken dreams.

As soon I quit, everything turned to chaos. My investments took a Mike Tyson beating of a lifetime. A few of my income streams dried up. Money-making opportunities evaporated faster than they entered my inbox. I had this sinking feeling: “You idiot.”

Mind you, I predicted this. I openly told people as soon as I quit that my plan b would become a disaster. It’s the nature of the universe for fantasies to explode into pieces before your eyes. Why?

A picture-perfect dream teaches you nothing. A dream that becomes a nightmare teaches you everything.

I traded days on the beach for hard work spent alone in my home office. The situation improved. Solutions magically presented themselves after long walks and gazes at the sky.

The fiery gates of hell open when you quit a job. They close again when you realize everything is going to be alright, and there are actually unlimited opportunities if you’ll just sit in silence in front of your computer and work out the jigsaw puzzle calmly.

Work you love causes time to fly

I used to sit down at home and try to do my 9–5 work. I struggled to get started most days.

The struggle has changed though. It’s fun to sit down and do work I love. Today I spent a whole day reading tweets. Hours turned into minutes. Kickass content creators found their way into my life. The day before, I sat down and wrote newsletters for 8 hours.

Work you hate causes time to painfully slow down. Work you love causes time to speed up. A balance is needed otherwise my entire life will pass by too fast.

The solution for me is to ensure I schedule slow time. Slow time is where I don’t work at all. It’s time I enjoy outside. It’s a deliberate practice designed to appreciate today, instead of work all the way through life without stopping.

You’ll waste a helluva lot of time

There’s a dark side to quitting a job. When there is no boss to prod you in the back with a pitchfork to meet deadlines, you can waste a lot of time.

I’ve let whole days vanish without a trace. I can’t even tell you where the time was spent. Writers Zulie Rane and Amardeep have both experienced something similar. They recommend time tracker apps. I’ll probably have to invest in one.

A casual Twitter scroll can mistakenly feel like work. Work of the paying variety requires me to actually produce finished products and deliver services to customers. That’s why I’ve divided my to-do list into “directly makes money” and “doesn’t make money.”

The biggest struggle is being ‘just in time’ to anybody who needs me. The urge to reply to a notification or email rather than do hard work is high. I’m patient with the problem. Why?

Discipline doesn’t get rebuilt overnight. Discipline strengthens when you practice it.

Big events will pile up

When multiple big events all start piling up around the same time, it makes the fear of being jobless worse. Right after I quit my job I had to plan a wedding, a honeymoon, and a celebration with friends.

Weddings sound simple. Then you contemplate the eternity contract you’re about to sign and start freaking out. A wedding is stressful. As much as you pretend it won’t be, it’s a day you want to be perfect — and I hate perfection. Add in big life events like starting a family and rebuilding your career, and you’ve got a huge stress ball inside your head.

I’ve spoken to many people who have quit their jobs. I noticed a pattern: when they decide to quit their jobs they also seem to make several other big life decisions right around the same time.

When you quit a job it’s part of an unconscious bigger change. So you need to expect multiple big events will pile up around the same time. When you expect stress, you can pre-prepare for it. Mindfulness, reading, writing, and calling smart people are all ways to deal with stress in advance.

Express how you feel. It helps.

A new routine rises from the ashes

I worked a job and a side hustle. Now my side hustle is my main form of work. The shift between the two means I have to build a new routine. I haven’t found an optimal one yet, but I’m almost there.

The process so far involves me experimenting with doing different tasks on different days. I find the less context switching I do the better. In other words, the more I do a similar thing over and over on the same day, the easier my work is.

New routines take time to build. Experiment with different tasks on separate days. Write down what works, then design a new routine.

I shouldn’t admit this

You’ll have mini-panic attacks without a job. It’s normal.

I’m living through a pandemic. I’m in and out of lockdowns. One day is freedom, the next day a walk to the park with a vanilla ice cream could cause me to break the law. It’s a lot to deal with.

Vaccinations, where I live, have been painfully slow. I’m still waiting for my turn for a jab in the arm. The longer I wait, the more the anxiety about which brand of vaccine to choose builds. I talk to family and friends and the wait isn’t doing them any good either. Unfortunately, some of them have turned into anti-vaxxers. They’ve read one too many non-scientific pieces of content and decided to put on the Captain Stupid hat. It’s difficult to watch.

Some days are harder than expected. Some days world events are all too much. I’ve found what helps is to expect these bad days. If a mini panic attack breaks out then I go easy.

I use the no-zero days formula to simply tick off one small piece of work that leads to the feeling of progress. Or I break the day into four quarters. If it’s 9 pm and the day has been a waste so far, then I still have the final quarter to play and hit a tiny milestone.

Is it worth quitting your job?

So as you can see there are good and bad parts about quitting your job.

Here’s the revelation: everybody should quit their job at least once in their lives. It’s totally worth it. Without a job, you build your risk muscle. Without a job, you’re forced to fend for yourself and that helps you grow. Plus, you can always get another job. But you can’t go back to your younger years and try life without a job.

I’ll leave you with this life-changing question: what if you are better off self-employed, happier, more resourceful, and you make more money?

I wish I quit my job sooner.

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Eight Traits of a Person Who Doesn’t Know They Will Become a Kickass Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur traits

Photo by Minh Dang on Unsplash

Entrepreneurs can be real douchebags.

The people who identify as entrepreneurs are often pretenders. They’re the ones looking for fame and glory by running a business and making money.

Look at the WeWork founder. Look at the Theranos founder. Yuck.

I prefer to spend time with people who are on their way to becoming entrepreneurs and don’t even know it. They have a certain level of humility that is contagious.

The label of entrepreneur is pretty misleading. For the purpose of this article, an entrepreneur is someone who believes they can directly charge two or more people money for a product/service.

Here are the traits I’ve observed in these future kickass entrepreneurs.

Their energy is infectious

I have received countless pitches from a 50-something guy. Most of the messages I get are lifeless. They’re full of selfishness or marketing gibberish.

This guy is different. He sends me messages with pitches on a daily basis now. The energy jumps off the screen. At 50, he’s just getting started. The energy levels he displays are higher than a 21-year-old who just got their first high-paying job.

What’s strange is he doesn’t identify as an entrepreneur (the best kind of entrepreneur). What drives him are ideas and being around high-energy people. Interactions with him left me fascinated. As a result I can’t resist finding a way to work with him.

High energy is so rare in business. When you discover a high-energy person, save them as a contact in your phone for life. Their energy will create opportunities you could never have dreamt of.

They have a ridiculously good system

A system is automation. Those who do tasks manually in the hope of earning money rarely succeed. Without a system you rely on willpower. A system is confidence in what you’re doing.

Systems allow you to do the following:

  • Batch similar tasks
  • Save time
  • Predict how long tasks will take
  • Create muscle memory for the brain on how to do a task
  • Outsource tasks to other people as your results increase

Solopreneurs who don’t have systems drown in paperwork. You can’t sell a business either that doesn’t have a system.

They look at the data. Duh.

What makes you kickass at making money is data. Data tells you what you’re doing right and what needs improving. Many people ignore the data and listen to supposed ‘experts’ or strangers on the internet.

I’ve done a number of courses recently focused on selling books. Every one of them suggests looking at the data to decide what chapters to include and what the topic should be. One teacher even suggested going to Amazon, finding the top four books in your chosen topic, and copying the table of contents as a guide.

Guessing destroys creator’s dreams. Data stops you from winging it.

They are Keanu Reeves nice to other entrepreneurs

Keanu Reeves is famous for being kind. When I meet a stranger who is good at being kind to other entrepreneurs, I see a badass, like Keanu, in the making.

A business is ultimately a collection of people. You have the people working on the business, and the community of people who buy from the business.

Kindness in business acts as a magnet. People can’t resist the temptation of a kind person. When you think about customers who spend money with you, remember that they form communities. How? They go online and talk about what they bought from you. Then they often get together in message apps and talk to each other about their experience.

This shift towards communities away from the traditional customers buying in isolation model is infecting every industry. A person who can lead a community with kindness will do well. What does this look like?

  1. Give away free products like books.
  2. Host free Q&As with the community without asking for money.
  3. Respond to questions.
  4. Dish out random acts of kindness to the community.

They don’t see other entrepreneurs as competitors

The innocence of selling the same product as someone else and treating them as a friend, rather than an enemy, is a superpower. Just because someone sells the same product as you, doesn’t mean you should wish them to step on a rake, get smacked in the temple, and die.

There are no competitors. The market is big enough for you to sell the same product as hundreds of others. I’ve met several people who sell products similar to me who don’t call themselves entrepreneurs. I thought they would hate me for having the same product. Nope.

One woman even offered to affiliate my product to her audience despite selling a similar idea. These are the people who succeed. They see a world full of partnerships, not competitors.

A competitor is an enemy. Who needs more enemies?

They’re in it for 5 + years

Short-term thinking isn’t entrepreneurship. Read that again.

Unlikely entrepreneurs want to build a sustainable way of making money over time. They’re happy to make $0 at the start. They’re happy to work for free to learn. They’re happy to see tiny progress each year, instead of viral success created overnight. They see viral as a random event that is 5 years in the making and can strike at any time.

Most businesses fail in the first 5 years. That’s why your thinking has to go beyond 5 years.

They factor in Web 3.0

The greatest businesses of the next two decades will be built on top of blockchain technology and the decentralization it provides.


Internet users want to own their data. They also want to own the software they use on a daily basis. Web 3.0 provides all of this and more.

A new business idea that is built on top of Web 2.0 will most likely fail. The change is occurring rapidly. People who are working in this space don’t realize they will become the next wave of kickass entrepreneurs. They’re simply enabling decentralization because they value it.

What we value can eventually take over our entire life, thanks to a business.

If you see content creators, developers, salespeople, or marketing folks working on Web 3.0, tilt your hat to them. They’re the honest versions of future Zuckerbergs that will become kickass entrepreneurs.

They pitch a lot

The 50-something gentleman mentioned at the start of the story had one other hidden trait of entrepreneurship: pitching a lot.

So far he’s pitched me lots of times. There’s no obligation attached to the pitch. He’s learned that you rarely pitch once and succeed. Why?

A pitch is an idea. There are loads of bad ideas. Pitching lots helps you refine the library of ideas you have to make money. Eventually, you’ll pitch one idea at the right time to somebody who buys into your philosophy.

A rejection to a pitch isn’t a no.

We can have too many opportunities. We can have better opportunities. We can be stuck in a difficult phase of life. We can be right in the middle of another project. So what happens when we get pitched and one of these scenarios applies? We say no. It’s not really a no, though.

A rejection is a quiet ‘come back later.’

People who don’t know they’re entrepreneurs are glorious. They don’t have all the ego, desire for money, and status that turns nice people into monsters who steal money from investors, customers, society, and employees.

Serve a higher cause and you’ll become a kickass entrepreneur.

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Freedom *Isn’t* What You Want. A Part of Being Human Is Doing Things.

Tim Denning Freedom

Photo by Nighthawk on Unsplash

You think you want freedom. But freedom can be a bad thing.

Quitting your job, or being a digital nomad, or living the laptop lifestyle won’t solve all of your problems.

How do I know? Last year I got fired and spent most of the year being an online blogger and doing nothing else. My friend said to me “Mate you must be loving life, eh?”

Not really. Spending the day on the computer and writing was nice for a few weeks. But when you do it each and every day to survive and put food on the table it changes everything.

Freedom from a normal job isn’t a bad thing, though. It’s just not worth becoming so obsessed with the idea that your life sucks until you achieve it. When you do achieve freedom from a 9–5 job you start to see the world differently.

A fellow blogger I follow online is Nat Eliason. He hasn’t had to work a normal job since March 2016. Like me, he found that freedom from a job or a typical life didn’t solve any of his problems.

As soon as you get that freedom, you realize that a fundamental part of being human is doing things — Nat Eliason

The Start of Freedom

It starts out being fun. You take what you love doing and do it full-time. Seems straightforward. Nothing in life ever is.

I spent the first few weeks waking up late and binging on takeaway Chai Lattes. Life was great, for a minute. Pretty quickly I figured out that life without work was boring. “I know, I’ll write every day,” said my brain.

It was a great idea. I’d learned in the years leading up to this full-time freedom phase of my life that I could in fact make money as a blogger. Writing could buy food and keep the taxman happy. Taking what you love and making it your job can take some of the shine off it though.

Writing started to feel like a chore real quick. That’s not how doing what you love is supposed to feel, is it?

Those Around You Can Warp the Idea of Freedom

This idea of freedom I was living was borrowed.

A friend of mine went from being a snake handler in the Australian desert to moving to Santa Monica with his laptop and being a blogger. I watched where blogging took him and fell into a whole new world. His idea of freedom tantalized me before bed. “I want to do that,” I said.

It took me years to learn that his life away from a normal job wasn’t so great at all. He admitted to getting caught up in many standard life problems. He also got divorced from the love of his life within fourteen days of getting married. It was a dream, and a nightmare, all in the same sentence.

I didn’t need to live in Santa Monica or have a life perfect for Instagram.

Chasing Rainbows

So you get your boss off your back and don’t have to take orders from anybody. Suddenly you’re going to be doing happy dances every day to McDonald’s, right? Nope. Not even close.

I thought my boss was my problem. While he was a dictator asshole who loved to use the phrase “mortgage motivation” he wasn’t really what I was escaping. What I wanted to get away from was having to delay my happiness for some future moment all the time. It was exhausting.

You can spend your entire life looking forward to retirement and it won’t do anything for you. As Nat said, “a fundamental part of being human is doing things.” If you get your freedom and do nothing then you’ll become miserable, fast. A 30-something retirement won’t change your life.

In fact, in the next 1–2 years, if I wanted to, I could retire as a 30-something-year-old. I’m not going to.

A new version of retirement

What if you thought about retirement differently? The way I think about retirement is that it’s a period in my life where I don’t have to do work that grinds my gears anymore to pay bills.

Freedom isn’t getting rid of the need to have a job.

Freedom is the ability to choose work that pays for enjoyment without thinking about how much I’m getting paid.

The guy I sit next to at work laughed when I said this:

“I want to reach retirement so I can quit the technology industry and go and work for the government on minimum wage. I’m fascinated by what it would be like. Then 12 months after that I want to work at an airport for shits and giggles to see what that’s like. Every 12 months I want to change industries and defy the boundaries of a resume.”

Maybe the wild choice of changing careers every twelve months is a better form of retirement. Maybe choosing work for shits and giggles is another form of retirement.

The Ability to Just Play and Goof Off

When I lived this digital nomad life last year everything became far too serious. Nat reminded me that you should never underestimate the ability to just play and goof off.

If all you do is obsess over passive income and becoming more ‘nomad’ by the day, you’ll have a nervous breakdown when the slightest setback creeps in. I found the separation between work and play disappeared. If I was watching a movie it had to be for money-making purposes. If I went for coffee it had to be with a mentor or somebody who could talk my ear off about business.

I couldn’t relax because my hobbies had made me a prisoner to them.

Have Multiple Sources of Meaning

Writing gave my life meaning. The problem was I depended on writing like a crack addict to give me my next hit of meaning.

Your life needs more than work to give you meaning. Meaning comes from helping other people. Meaning comes from falling in love. Meaning comes from spending time with your family. Meaning comes from travel. Meaning comes from learning about history. I forgot all these sources of meaning and so I relied solely on a blogging audience to give it to me. When they didn’t, I felt empty and alone.

Diversify where you get meaning from so you spread your risk.

The False Reality of Travel

It’s nice to travel. Travel is one reason people want to quit their jobs and become a digital nomad. I love travel too. It’s nice to explore the ancient ruins of Rome like I did two years ago. You know what’s weird?

After you travel a lot you start to hate it.

Two weeks into my trip to Europe everything began to feel the same. A city was a city. An ancient building was an ancient building. A bowl of pasta was just another bowl of pasta. A tourist attraction was just another place full of tourists who took photos of everything and didn’t know why. Many of them would never view a single photo they took ever again (I haven’t looked at any of my Italy travel pictures since).

Traveling the world won’t save you from yourself.

Traveling the world won’t suddenly make your life awesome and solve all of your problems.

What You Really Want

I realized that I didn’t want a lifestyle or material possessions at all.

Freedom was simple: I wanted the ability to have choices.

That’s what freedom is. It’s not quitting your job and never working again. Doing things is part of the human experience. Choosing what things you do and don’t do is a powerful experience. It shows you what is possible and acts as a compass that points to your next opportunity.

Now I’m back working a traditional 9–5 job again, four days a week. I don’t plan on leaving corporate life, yet. What has changed between last year and this year is that I work a normal job because I choose to, not because I have to. I’m aiming to ensure in each area of my life that I have choices.

Leaving work behind for good isn’t the answer. Turning your hobbies into passive income isn’t the answer either.

The answer: Replace the idea of freedom from work with the ability to have choices to do whatever work you choose.

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Why I Believe Business Deals Close Better In Person

Business Deals Close Better In Person - Tim Denning

When it comes to thinking about the way that business deals are conducted, I think we have lost our way a bit. It’s very easy to think that everything can be done on Skype or email or even telephone. Now I am not saying business can’t be done through these methods, but we need to think about it carefully.

93% of body language is not verbal yet the methods I mentioned above are all using technology where the other person is not next to you. Now yes you can see them through a video camera but it’s not the same thing.

Now a few weeks ago I saw an example that demonstrated this point perfectly. I was trying to fix a deal that was done over twelve months ago via email and phone – I was getting nowhere. I became frustrated because this client had the potential to help us build our business.

Then, as if some miracle had occurred, the CEO I was talking with said, “screw this, I am coming to Melbourne.” The next week he arrived, and we spent sixty minutes together talking through the issues on both sides.

Now that we were in the same room together he could see that I was a reasonable guy and wanted to make things work. What took us weeks to work out was now negotiated in one hour. We wrote it up on the whiteboard; I took a photo of it with my iPhone, and he was on his way with both of us very happy about the outcome we had reached.



Why did the outcome change face-to-face?

The reason I believe that the outcome changed when the CEO came and saw me face-to-face was because of body language. It’s very easy over the phone or email to come across the wrong way. It’s very easy to sound rude or like you don’t care about the other person’s goals.

When you do things face-to-face, it much easier to tell by the other persons body language what they are thinking, and whether you are in rapport with them. From the way they shake your hand, to their posture when they’re sitting down, there are so many clues.


How do I supercharge the results from a face-to-face meeting?

So if you want to supercharge your business results then not only should you consider doing bigger deals face-to-face but you should also try a few things.

Firstly, take the other person out for lunch. When you eat with another person, you get to build a greater level of rapport. People love eating out with me because they get to learn about my quirky sense of health and it always seems to be a great bonding experience.

Secondly, spend the first part of your meeting talking about where the other person is from and their culture. Knowing about where someone is from helps you with the way that you communicate with them. When it’s your time to share where you’re from, don’t hold back; let them into your world.

Thirdly, watch the way you dress. I have been to many first time meetings where there is someone present who is letting the way they dress alter their results. It’s not rocket science, but it does require you to think a bit.

For example, if you’re meeting a person who is a computer programmer then a suit and tie is probably not going to be appropriate.


A note on preparation

A great thing to do when you have a face-to-face meeting is to come across as prepared. This can be something as simple as having a room booked, setting a simple agenda, outlining what you want to get out of the meeting, and having some sort of structure.

Don’t go over the top, just be cool – show you care.


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4 Business Lessons That Are Transformational

Transformational Business Lessons - Tim Denning

So in my day-to-day business dealings there are some fundamental lessons that can change the impact you have and the revenue you have the ability to generate. I’ll give you the heads up, though; two out of the four lessons are not the typical things you will find in business books.

To stand out and cut through the noise of your competitors, you must have a different approach. Some of the most successful startups have learnt these lessons early, which is why they have been able to scale and grow so quickly.

Like anything that you will hear me suggest, they’re pretty straightforward concepts that make logical sense to any rational human. A lot of these lessons though are directly tied to personal development concepts, which is why they are not known or practised by everyone.

Here are the four business lessons that I believe can be transformational.


1Always have an open mind

In traditional corporate business, the number one trait that is missing is the willingness to have an open mind. I have seen this first hand and I don’t point it out to be negative. The reality is that a lot of the challenges that big business face are around getting people to be open to new ideas.

Many times I have seen ideas shut down even before they are properly explained. It’s this phenomenon that has actually caused some employees to leave and start their own startup (this is cool at the same time). Now the good news is that this issue is not hard to change at all.

It requires us to have the same approach that we use for brainstorming. If you follow the rules of brainstorming, then all you need to do is allow ideas to be read out and written down, without interruption, even if they are no good or not relevant.

Through this methodology, it allows ideas to be at least heard which is step one. Fundamentally, though, the reason a lot of traditional business people aren’t open-minded is because they have limiting beliefs. They think that change might create more work or expose the business to high risks.

In reality, I believe the exact opposite is true. Being open-minded creates innovation that allows more efficiency and less work. It also de-risks the business because in business today, the riskiest thing you can do is not be open-minded, not change, not innovate and then become less relevant to your customers – food for thought.

By understanding the need to be open-minded and ensuring you do it as much as possible, you have the potential to transform your business environment.


2. Look at other industries to find solutions

So this lesson came from Mat Jacobson of Ducere, who made the point to me that a lot of the time we are trying to solve challenges that have existed in our own industry for a long time. His belief is that you need to look outside of your industry.

By looking outside of your industry, you can find strategies that you may not have thought before and get a totally different perspective. I have been trying this out and found it to be quite powerful. I now challenge myself to go to the most left of centre industries to find innovation.


3. Meet lots of people

So typical business people definitely meet people and understand the value of this. My challenge to you is to do it more often with no agenda in mind. Don’t walk around an event with a big salesman sign on your face and tell people you came to network.

Try going to business events with no agenda and just asking what other people are doing. Spend as much of your time as you can asking about the other person. Not only does this create rapport, but it will give you much different results.

Some of the best contacts I have made have come from going to the strangest of events where I only went out of curiosity. Now all good entrepreneurs have curiosity so if you’re not naturally curious, then you should work on this too.

Similar to the previous point, try going to events that are beyond the realm of your industry. Sometimes I find that when I go to business functions within my own industry, everyone I meet is someone I have met before – this quickly gets boring.


4. Build reciprocal business (otherwise it’s all price)

So a concept I have been trying is only to build business where it can be reciprocal. A lot of the time, when business is not reciprocal, it can just become all about price. The question to ask yourself is, how does my company become a customer of someone that is already doing business with us?

This change in thinking means that you now have leverage. It means that for that customer of yours to leave you, they are at risk of you leaving them as a customer. Now you can’t do this with everyone but it’s another way to think about doing business.

In my world, it makes a customer what we call sticky. Now when there is value being exchanged both ways, it can lead to other opportunities such as partnerships, mergers, acquisitions, the sharing of databases, etc

“When two companies have a two-way exchange of value it becomes much more than doing business” – Tim Denning

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