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1 Master the Habits of Your Life

Marketing Podcast with Gretchen Rubin

Habits are big business. In fact, creating, changing and keeping habits has created an entire multi-billion dollar industry for books, apps, coaching, training and countless products.

And why not, habitual behavior makes up about 90% of how we go through the day whether we are conscious of it or not.

Our habits dictate how much we get done, how we feel, and how we come off to others. So, doesn’t it make logical sense that good habits serve us and bad habits drain us?

Well as many of you surely know it’s not that simple. I mean, well-educated, thinking individuals often know what they “should” do, but still reach for the closest processed junk food they can find. So what’s the answer to forming and keeping the habits that are right for each of us?

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast is Gretchen Rubin, author of the new book Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives. She also hosts a podcast called Happier with Gretchen Rubin

One of the  things I like most about Rubin’s approach is she starts off by acknowledging that there is no one routine that will work for all. First you have to decide what kind of habit person you are. For example, getting up at 5:30 am is a habit that serves me well. I’m a morning person and I get a ton done before many people have had their first coffee. But, there are those that don’t get the creative juices flowing until around midnight – do you think telling them to get up at 5:30 am is going to work?

Rubin’s book is a great addition for those people who realize life is basically a work in progress!

Back in 2012 I interviewed Charles Duhrigg – author of The Power of Habit, you might like to give it a listen as well.

Questions I ask Gretchen:

  • What is it like to be an expert on the topic of happiness?
  • What did you learn about yourself while writing this book?
  • How do you keep a routine while traveling?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How to be happier by adjusting your daily routines.
  • How to form your positive habits based on your personality.
  • How legal terms can help you keep to your diet.

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Hostgator, where you’ll get 24 hour live support via chat, phone or email, 1-click WordPress installs, easy-to-use website builder, design services, marketing services like SEO and PPC, and for my listeners: a 30% Discount. Go to www.Hostgator.com/promo/ducttape

7 5 Simple Acts to Take Right Now


photo credit: UGArdener via photopin cc

The months of July and August can be slower ones for many small businesses in the U.S. While we’ve got a thing or two to learn from some other cultures about taking a “real” holiday, many business owners and their clients take vacations and spend less time thinking about business during the summer months.

You may still feel just as busy doing busy kind of things, but the key to making this mini breather pay is to look at the summer months as a launching pad for growth and improvement into next year. Many times we keep our head down doing the work and can’t seem to find the right amount of time to dedicate to the needs of the business.

Below are five things that I try to do each summer as a way to make the rest of the year more fruitful.

1) Find some new inspiration It’s pretty easy to get in the habit of reading the same blogs, following the same people, and picking up the same magazines. You may have developed your go to list and that’s great, but in doing so, it’s easy to miss fresh new voices with lots to say unless you get outside of your bubble.

Take one hour and reshuffle your RSS Reader. Think about some new categories of information you should be consuming and search around and find some lists of “who to read” in that category or industry. Clean out those newsletter subscriptions you never seem to read and make room for some new inspiration.

2) Start planning 2015 now Sometimes it feels like it’s hard to plan the week ahead much less dream about the vision for the future. The problem with this trap, however, is that where you want to go in 2015 and beyond should inform how you plan next week and maybe even tomorrow.

Take a day, or half of a day, and think about the big picture for 2015. Don’t wait until December to do it or you’ll find that it’s March before you actually start to think it’s 2015. (And then March Madness starts and you’re really in trouble.) Break the rest of this year into 90-day blocks and map the big projects you need to accomplish to make the big vision for next year happen right now!

3) Deepen a relationship When’s the last time your reached out to someone you hadn’t spoken with for a while just to say “hey let’s get coffee this week.” It’s probably been a while, right? We’re all so darn busy “building relationships” we don’t have the time to do what it actually takes to build relationships.

Whether you’ve slowed down a bit or not during this time of year, it’s a perfect time to identify a handful of relationships you’ve neglected and put some very mindful energy into renewing them. You pick – a couple of key customers, a strategic partner, a college friend, your brother, or maybe, even your spouse!

4) Learn a new skill I like to use the summer months each year to tackle something hard and confusing and valuable as a way to remain relevant and useful to my clients and my business. This year I’m diving deeper into analytics. It’s a bit like math to me, but may be the single most important gap I have in my ability to apply both experience and process to help make sense of marketing for my clients and readers.

I’ve subscribed to relevant blogs, picked up some books and tracked down an online course or two to create my curriculum. Of course, then I’ll immediately apply what I can in the real world.

5) Create a new habit Good habits are awesome because they do two things. If chosen wisely they can bring the benefit of doing something good for you on a consistent basis and they can help push another, not so good, habit out of the way. In fact, it’s been proven that the best way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a better one.

This summer I’m getting back into yoga. I’ve been a long time practicer but somewhere in the stress and chaos created from my last book I lost it. My knees and my blood pressure tell me it’s time to get back to it.

There you have it – an entire plan for how to wisely use your August this year. Of course taking a little time off wouldn’t kill you either!

And finally – this sounds so ridiculous to say, but I’m just going to say it anyway – I’ve started turning my phone off for extended periods and I can’t believe how much less stress I feel. Give it a try!

24 Habit is Such a Fierce Competitor

no saleHave you ever made a sales call, presented what was an obvious advancement in terms of innovation, quality, efficiency and price, only to walk away without the sale?

If so there’s a good chance you’ve met the competitor known as habit. Habit, even a costly one, can stop a buyer from switching to your product more thoroughly than any competitor’s feature set or low ball price ever dared to.

When you encounter a prospect or market segment that’s unwilling to listen to logic you must be prepared to introduce a specific approach aimed at teaching them how to switch. In some cases the fear of change, unknown or known pain of switching, or overall risk raises the selling bar to the point where most give up. Implement the following and you might find a rich new market for your products and services.

Acknowledge the habit

The first step is to come to grips with the problem yourself. Stop trying to convince people why they should switch and start understanding what’s keeping them locked where they are. You can’t help them solve the problem if you don’t understand and acknowledge it yourself.

How much does that habit cost?

Once you understand what’s holding them back you can go to work on defining exactly how much their fear or indifference is costing them. When you can quantify just how much their behavior is costing them in dollars and cents you’ll stand are far greater chance of getting their attention. Look to your existing success stories and poll your existing client base to come up with hard and soft numbers that reflect the benefit of switching to your product or solution. When you can demonstrate that not switching is costing $9822 while switching only costs $3588, you’ll raise at least one eyebrow.

Build a case of what’s in it

Since your fighting the laws of physics here you’ve got to create even more force to overcome the inertia of a reluctant buyer. Focus on what’s in it for them. Talk to your customers and get a good feel for the 3-4 “real” (meaning not the stuff you put in your marketing brochure) benefits your customers experience. Don’t worry about how simple you think they are, if your customers are telling that’s why they really switched, believe it’s why others will as well. I switched credit cards one time because the company showed me how much more detailed their online statements were than anyone else. That’s why I switched – not because I could get a cheap plastic cooler for every $1000 I spent.

Easy to switch offer

Once you’ve helped them realize the real cost and built a benefit rich case, you’re almost there. You’ve also got to remove the final barrier known as “what if.” What if evaporates with an over the top guarantee to switch them back and pay for all disruption if . . .it goes away when your throw in all set-up, training and refining at no cost . . . it goes away when you implant your super responsive customer service rep in their business for 90 days . . . it goes away when you offer to get paid only after they experience the proposed savings. So, what’s your easy to switch offer.

Habit a darn fierce competitor, but one that won’t stand up to your habit busting strategy.

Image credit: adobemac