I’ve been listening to Ryan Moran’s podcast over at Freedom Fast Lane a lot recently. Ryan preaches that two keys to guaranteed success are: a.) taking actions that produce measurable results, and b.) associating yourself with people who will stretch you beyond the level at which you currently are at.
Resonating with key #2, I took right to #1.
Action #1 – Making my list
I made a short list of people who I felt would allow me to build a strong success network. The people who I look up to; the people who make me the ‘dumbest person in the room.’
The first person on my list was David Chilton. In case you’re not familiar with who he is, he’s the author of the book the Wealthy Barber (& The Wealthy Barber Returns), and has been an investor on Dragon’s Den for the past 3 seasons. I started following him after I attended one of his presentations on personal finance at Laurier, and then of course during his time on the Den. He’s completely changed the way I think about and manage my money, and I admire his simplistic approach to life. The fact that he’s local also meant I wouldn’t have to chase him around the world to simply chat over a cup of coffee.
Action #2 – Determining where I can provide value
I knew that even just getting a response from someone with ‘celebrity status’ would be damn near impossible. But if you have followed any of my other posts at all, you’ll know that standing out from the crowd is one of my personal keys to success.
And it applies here as well. If I wanted any chance in hell at this coffee date, I’d need to find a way to stand out from the other 100 people who message him daily.
I started looking for ways that I could provide value. I didn’t want to position myself as a leech of his time. I wanted the exchange of value to flow both ways.
The first thing I noticed was that his website, The Wealthy Barber, was terribly out of date (the copyright still shows 2011). Having built numerous websites for clients in the past, and even launching my own course on how to create a personal brand website, my thoughts were quickly flooded with ways that I could improve his online brand. I could give it a fresh new look, drive more book sales, promote his investment portfolio, generate speaking opportunities.. the list goes on. I was confident that this would be my home run.
Action #3 – Getting to work
I knew I needed to move quick. How terrible would I feel if I procrastinated for a week, only to see that he had launched a new website in the meantime.
I cleared my desk, put my head down, and got to work. I knew I could’ve spent days/weeks working on it, but my goal was to get the 20% done that would achieve 80% of what I wanted to accomplish. ‘Don’t over-analyze, just get your point across.’
Here’s what I ended up with: http://www.sunnytrochaniak.com/wealthybarber/
Good enough, I was satisfied.
Action #4 – Reaching out
Finally it was time. This was my first experiment of this kind, so I was anxious, curious, and excited to see what would come of it. My initial plan was to wait until the Monday after Easter, but I just couldn’t do it. I had to get it out right away.
And so began the check-my-phone-every-2-seconds-OCD’ing. I had even set up a Google Analytics tracking code so that I could see in real-time whenever someone clicked through to the site using the link I posted.
Shortly after, it appears that my plan has taken a complete 180.
Where did I screw up?? Did I come off as trying to be an imposter??
I was not going to be able to sleep in this current position. Is he going to sue me? I frantically scramble to send him an email and explain my intention. In my head, all I can imagine is him thinking to himself “I’m going to bring this Sunny kid down.”
No more than 8 minutes later, I get this response:
Within seconds, my heart rate hits 180BPM and I run for a glass of water to clear my throat. It didn’t even matter because I was pretty confident that I wouldn’t even be able to squeak a single word out. I still have zero idea of what to expect for the call.
A minute later, the phone rang. To my surprise, it wasn’t even Dave on the phone. It was my worst fear: Mr. Samuels of Samuels and Associates Law firm.
Ok just kidding. It was Dave, and fortunately this is where the story starts to level off a bit.
He told me that he doesn’t even know how to block someone on Twitter, and that he was actually meaning to send me a direct message. Heart rate – stabilizing.
We chat for a few minutes, and I learn that while he appreciates the effort, he’s actually looking to further simplify his life, and NOT make it easier for others to find him.
Unfortunate for me, but both understandable and admirable.
At the end of the day, I didn’t achieve what I had ultimately set out to achieve. There is no coffee date scheduled for Mr. Chilton and I.
I think there’s a lot I can take with me for the future though.
I am satisfied with the process of Choose person > Find a way to create value > Create value > Reach out (through whatever channels necessary), but it could use a few tweaks. When it comes to finding a way to create value, it may be a good idea to dig a bit deeper and make sure that the value you’re providing actually satisfies that person’s NEEDS. If David was looking for a new website, I think the end result would have been a lot different.
I also got a better understanding as to how pressured for time ‘high-profile’ individuals really are. Everyone is looking to bite a chunk of their time, and I’m sure as much as they’d like to, they simply cannot devote it unless there is some kind of return. There needs to be a real incentive that makes the whole interaction as worthwhile for them as it is to you.
This sounds impossible, but I think if you can discover a need which you believe that person possesses (whether they even know about it yet or not), and then assist them in filling that need, you stand a pretty good chance. Does it sound easy? No, but it’s worth a shot, and is an effort that can potentially alter the path of your life down the road.
Even though I didn’t completely reach my goal, it was definitely a worthwhile experience. 1.) I had a phone call with David Chilton (!!), 2.) I took action, and 3.) I put myself way out of my comfort zone.
Will I try it again? Absolutely. Watch out Justin Bieber, here I come…
Over to you
Have you ever met with someone ‘way out of your league,’ not by accident? Have you ever tried? What did you do and what were the results? Leave a comment below!
Coffee cup photo courtesy of Hallbadorn.