Transcript of How to Think About Hustle
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John Jantsch: Hey, this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Rev.com. We do all of our transcriptions here on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast using Rev.com, and I’m going to give you a special offer in just a bit.
John Jantsch: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. My guest today is Neil Patel. He is the co-founder, creator of some tools that many of you use; Hello Bar, Crazy Egg, Kissmetrics. Also, the author, creator of an awesome blog called Quick Sprout that I send people to frequently, and somehow or another, he finally got around to writing a book. That book is called Hustle: The Power to Change Your Life with Money, Meaning, and Momentum. Neil, thanks for joining me.
Neil Patel: Thanks for having me.
John Jantsch: I actually had Robert Cialdini on the show recently, and he’s the author of Influence, and has another book out currently, and there was 30 years between those two books. I had to ask him, what took him so long, but I think there’s probably a lot of people wondering, why is this Neil Patel’s first book?
Neil Patel: I just haven’t had the time. It was funny, after this book came out-
John Jantsch: You’re too busy writing other content, that’s the problem.
Neil Patel: Yeah, blogging. The funny thing is, after the book came out, I’ve had so many people ask me if I want to write another book, and I’m like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, I just got one out there, I’m not ready for any more books at the moment.”
John Jantsch: Yeah, actually, you’re in that window where I swear I’ll never write another book. That kind of, after you’ve come out of it, now you’re doing all the hustle of promoting it. Let me ask you this then, why was now the time for you to write a book?
Neil Patel: I just thought that it was a great point in my time to try to capture a new audience. I have, especially online, I have most people who are interested in learning about marketing, at least online marketing. Right now, I’m trying to just help people who want to start businesses, and I was like, “You know what? Why not try to write a book, it can reach a really broad audience.”
John Jantsch: Yeah, I actually really like that, because you’re right. You’ve written almost anything, somebody who wants to generate traffic, or things like that. You’ve written a ton about that. Another book by you maybe wouldn’t add that much to it, but I really like how you’ve taken, in a lot of ways, your life experience, your business experience, and said, “Here’s what I’ve learned through the years.” Now, you have a couple of co-authors on this, how did that come about?
Neil Patel: Yes. We were all thinking about this similar idea. Jonas, Patrick, and I, we’ve known each other for a while, and we were just like, it’d be really great to write a book that just helps people find the passion to rise, succeed at whatever they want to do and not just necessarily entrepreneurship, it could just be that they want to improve in the corporate workplace and climb the corporate ladder, or they feel like they’re stuck in life and they’re not sure what they want to do next, and they just feel like nothing is progressing and life sucks, right?
Neil Patel: We just want to help people accomplish their goals, and it’s not necessarily financial goals, just whatever makes them happy.
John Jantsch: One of the things, you break the book into three sections, which I like. To me, it kind of guides it, so it’s heart, head, and habits, and in some ways, that’s kind of the progression maybe of how somebody learns that they’re on the right path as well, and how to stay on the right path.
John Jantsch: One of the things that, in the first section, that took me, because it’s a little counter-intuitive, a lot of people think in terms of people starting businesses, is that’s like the ultimate risk. I think that you turn that on its head a little bit and talk about, if you’re not doing what you were meant to be doing, if you’re not starting a business, if you’re miserable, that that’s actually riskier than creating some venture that you could be passionate about.
Neil Patel: Yeah, you just need to go out there and do something, right? The big philosophy about going and trying different things, not necessarily doing a whole venture, but just the whole concept of trying different things, it’ll help you, it’ll lead you to your passion, and what you love in life.
John Jantsch: Yeah, there’s so many books out there that talk about, you have to sit down one day and decide what you’re passionate about. That’s really, I don’t think that’s possible. I don’t think that’s how it’s done is it?
Neil Patel: No. It’s not really how it’s done. It’s so funny, I was speaking to someone earlier today, and someone was telling me, they’re like, “You know when you’re a kid and you dream about being an astronaut? You had to think that as you grow up, you want to be an astronaut, but most people don’t really do what they’ve dreamed of as a kid,” and I’m like, “Yeah, that’s true.”
Neil Patel: They were like, “Do you think we should all go back and do what we dreamed up as a kid? Because most of us are not happy.” I was like, “No.” They were like, “Why not?” I’m like, “Well, as a kid you want to be an astronaut, even though that may seem awesome as a kid, as an adult, if that’s what you dreamed up, the chances are you’re not going to love it, and what you should just be doing is trying out different things, and it’ll … Two things will happen.
Neil Patel: “Either one, you’ll find out what you dislike really quickly, and two, you’ll eventually be led down a path on what you love from that.” For example, my first venture was a job board. Failed miserably, but from that, I realized that people just don’t come to your website and I learned how to market it. I fell in love with marketing, so I decided to get into consulting. From there, I realized that I hated consulting, even though I love marketing, and it wasn’t for me, but through consulting, clients had issues. One of the big issues was that they couldn’t figure out what made people convert on their own website, so we created a software company from that. I didn’t care enough to say create software, I love the concept of it, but I found my passion and that passion was marketing my own businesses.
John Jantsch: Yeah, one thing you pointed out that I want to go back to is that idea of its okay to find out what you don’t like too. In fact, that’s part of the learning process. A lot of times when I’m interviewing clients and trying to get them to decide who their ideal client is, it’s a lot easier for me to say, “Okay, who don’t you want to work with?” Because that sort of rings truer or at least comes to mind faster.
Neil Patel: Yeah. No, you got it right. It’s process of elimination. If you quickly figure out what you don’t want to do, eventually, you’ll narrow down what you could be potentially doing.
John Jantsch: You introduce, or at least use in this book a couple terms that I want to dive into. One is, I believe it’s pronounced hormesis. The idea of stress for success. I wondered if you would try to apply that to why you believe that’s an important element of growth?
Neil Patel: Yeah, sure. When you’re not stressed out, think of it this way. If everything in your life is fine and dandy, what happens? [inaudible 00:06:44], right? So you’re on Duct Tape Marketing, if every day of your life is easy, and you never had anything to stress out, what’s going to happen in your life?
John Jantsch: Probably get pretty complacent.
Neil Patel: Yeah, and when you get complacent, do you have anything that’s driving you to do better, keep learning more, growing, et cetera?
John Jantsch: Right, right.
Neil Patel: When you have some sort of stress, it’s good. You need to get out of your comfort zone, because that stress makes you think, makes you be creative, makes you take action, right? Causes momentum, all these types of things. When you don’t have stress and things are really easy, and I see this a lot with trust fund babies, in which, I have a ton of friends in New York, I’m in New York right now, who have generated quite a bit of income just from their parents, in which they didn’t necessarily have to make that income, but they just got their income truly from their parents, right?
Neil Patel: Like got 100 million dollars, or whatever it was, but large amounts of money. They’re bored in life, and they want to create these ventures, and they want to do things, but their life isn’t stressful, and it’s so easy that there’s no pressure for them to learn, innovate, succeed, they’re just like, “Whatever happens, happens.” That’s not how you grow as an individual.
John Jantsch: Yeah, I mean, look at the countless stories of people that really had their back against the wall, they were down to their last dime. They just had to either sink or swim and those are some of the people that … That’s your rags to riches kind of story, come about, because they were in that position I think.
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John Jantsch: So, another term. This was actually something I’d heard some economists talk about, but never necessarily applied it to business, and I love when terms come from other areas, and you can apply them to businesses, but obliquity. The idea that there is no … You can’t sit down and just say, “Here’s my vision for my business, I’m going to take that path there,” but that success actually is more indirect than that, isn’t it?
Neil Patel: That’s correct. Yeah, because when you see a path and you’re just like, “This is what’s going to happen,” chances are usually not what’s going to end up being the end result. I see this all the time with venture capitalists. I’ve been in San Francisco for years, raised money, and you know, one feedback or piece of advice that every single investor has told me? They’re like, “Yeah, when we invest in a company, we invest in the people.” I was like, “Why is this?” They’re like, “The vision, the path that you take to succeed,” right? The original picture, original concept is very rarely what you end up with. They never really see the end company being the same one that was originally pitched.
Neil Patel: You learn, you have to adapt, market conditions change, competitors arise, et cetera. For that reason, the way you get to the end is typically an indirect path. It could be from learnings, or you learn business shortcut, or there’s a more efficient way, or you may end up learning that the business model won’t work, and you’ve tried many different paths, and it isn’t going to happen, and then from there you can spin up a different business.
Neil Patel: For example, Twitter came out of Odeo, or Audio, I forgot what it was called, but it was about a podcast site, and from it, they weren’t doing well at all, but they built Twitter [inaudible] though, like, “Oh, this seems like a much better idea,” and yeah, people could say Twitter is struggling right now, but they’re still a multi-billion dollar company.
John Jantsch: Right. Why the term hustle? That comes pretty loaded with some ideas, presuppositions. How does that term play out for you?
Neil Patel: Yeah, so the way we see hustle isn’t like most people. During my dad’s age and time, when the word hustle was used, he was like, “Oh, you’re going to go and sell drugs on the street corner.”
John Jantsch: Right, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, or you’re going to get hustled. That’s a term too, that … Yeah, yeah.
Neil Patel: Exactly, but if you’ve been looking up the last, in which you have, if you look at the last five, 10 years, the concept has been changing, right? You’re seeing people everywhere out there being like, “Well, I’m going to make something happen, I’m going to hustle.” Right? It’s the act of doing something, and trying to be more efficient at it, and figuring out how to get what you want, in maybe unconventional ways. You’re seeing everyone talk about it.
Neil Patel: For example, one of the biggest authors in our space is Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary Vaynerchuk is interestingly known for using the word hustle, right? We want to change the meaning, or what everyone perceives it. It’s actually not that hard, right? With the younger generations, there’s not much to change meaning wise, it’s more so with the older generation.
John Jantsch: Yeah, and actually there’s a very positive connotation when you think of how people apply to say, sports. Athletes, you know, that you out-hustle somebody, you’re just willing to work harder and try something different as opposed to really just resting on your laurels.
Neil Patel: Yep, you got it right.
John Jantsch: There’s another concept that I really like, and you think about it, makes total sense that we should be doing this, and it’s your personal opportunity portfolio, or POP, I think you call it throughout the book. The portfolio, like the graphic designer shows up for the job interview with their portfolio, but I think you’ve taken that concept and said, “Hey, everybody ought to be doing that.”
Neil Patel: Yeah. The other thing I want you to think about is, companies and IPO’s. A company can grow their value and they can IPO and they can keep increasing and growing, why can’t individuals? You yourself can keep building up your brand, your portfolio. You can increase your value over time.
Neil Patel: A great example of this is Kim Kardashian. If you look at her over the years, she’s increased her POP, and now, companies will pay an arm and a leg to just go out there and post something on Instagram, or Facebook, or whatever it may be, because she’s such a powerful brand out there. In essence, she has built up a really strong POP. Why can’t individuals out there do it? You don’t have to be in the celebrity space.
Neil Patel: Now, for me, I built up my brand through content marketing and blogging. Not only does it help me drive business, but I can get paid to speak, I can get paid to write books. The possibilities are endless and so many doors are opening, and you have a similar journey as well, right? Through the podcast, through the blog, it’s probably opened up a lot of doors for you.
John Jantsch: You bet. Absolutely. Another concept that I think is really interesting. I’ve heard other people talk about this, now we’re in the habits I suppose, this idea, but the 10 minute rule. You want to explain how that has changed your life?
Neil Patel: Yeah, so we all have goals. If you want to achieve your goal, just for 10 minutes, try doing something that will help you get closer to it. Once you’ve done it for 10 minutes, evaluate. Has that helped you get closer to your goal? If it has, do more of it. If it hasn’t, shift your approach. It’s just, taking little actions can create drastic changes in your life. It’s usually not one thing though, it’s a lot of little things that add up. We’re teaching you by just taking little actions, that you can get further into accomplishing what you’re trying to achieve.
John Jantsch: Yeah, and I think it also, sometimes just getting started is really all you need. You use the example in the book about exercise. There are a lot of times when I just feel like, “I don’t really want to do this,” but then I kind of force myself to do it, and within a few minutes, I’m like, “I’m glad I did this.” I do think that it has a little bit of that getting started, the initiative it takes to get started.
Neil Patel: Definitely. Yeah, and when you look at it as 10 minutes, it’s not overwhelming, right? You’re like, “Oh, I’ll only have to do this for 10 minutes,” not a big deal. If I tell you to go do something for hours, it’s like, “One hour, that’s a lot of time.”
John Jantsch: Now another thing I’m going to dive into, a lot of people I think really try to be the best at what they do, and that’s a noble goal, I don’t have a problem with that, but I think you also talk about a lot of people end up succeeding by … I don’t want to say they’re intentionally mediocre, but maybe they’re sort of mediocre at a number of things that they can combine.
John Jantsch: I would never tell anybody I’m a great writer, or a great speaker, but I have written five books and 4,000 blog posts, and done four or 500 presentations. Now, partly because I just wanted to do it, and I started to do it, and being kind of mediocre, I’ve certainly, hopefully gotten better, but being kind of mediocre at a number of things, has actually allowed me to excel aggregately, if that makes sense, and I wonder if you feel like that’s been your journey to some extent?
Neil Patel: It has. I’m not necessarily great at one thing. Yeah, people can say I’m really good at marketing, but I’m probably decent at a lot of components at marketing, when you combine them it makes me dangerous. Malcolm Gladwell talks about the 10,000 hour rule, in which, if you do something for 10,000 hours, you become an expert. What we say is, there’s a lot of things that you’re going to suck at. There’s going to be some things that you’re mediocre at, and you’re going to have a natural talent.
Neil Patel: When you try different things, you’ll figure out where your natural talent is, and if you spend time perfecting your natural talent, and usually if you’re talented at something, you should love it, because what’s easier for you is typically the thing that you fall more in love with. If you start trying to improve it, you can actually make a career, a living off of it, right? Especially when you combine it with your other abilities.
John Jantsch: So, you have put together a website that you actually have a few of the tools that you talk about. You have some resources there at hustlegeneration.com, is that right?
Neil Patel: That’s correct.
John Jantsch: Anywhere else you want to send people to find out more about you and the various things that you’re doing?
Neil Patel: Neilpatel.com.
John Jantsch: Great. Well Neil, thanks so much for joining us. Hustle: The Power to Change Your Life with Money, Meaning, and Momentum, is available everywhere, and I suggest it is just the nuggets, such a handful of nuggets that you can pull out of it in a quick read are well worth the price of the book. Neil, thanks for joining us. Hopefully we’ll see you out there on the road.
Neil Patel: Thanks for having me.