#PROGRESS

How To Get The Midas Touch With One Simple Mind Shift

Ah … what if you could turn everything you touch into gold. If you could make life work in your favor and have people talk about you in the best of ways. Is it possible? Yes! it is, and you can turn things around with just one simple mind shift.

Consider for a moment … Have you ever ordered food to your house and the person delivering the food just can’t find your house? Even with all of today’s technology; GPS and Google Maps, the delivery person just can’t figure it out?

Or better yet, maybe you have experienced the delivery guy/gal who comes straight to your house and gives you an extra treat as a thank you for ordering with them? What impression do each of these scenarios leave you with?

Underperformance or overperformance? The difference is critical.

The truth is, most people just live up to our expectations and that’s it. But then there are some people who are just phenomenal and totally awesome. They are the type of person who makes others say: “Damn, he or she was really good and better than I thought!”

These “overperformers” have figured out the Midas touch and how to optimize it! If you learn this simple trick, you too can be the Alchemist in your own life. You’ll want to be part of this rare breed, the type of person who always overdelivers.

Make people impressed and they’ll do word-of-mouth marketing for you. For example, if you promise work done in three days, deliver it in two! If you commit to producing a ten minute video, make the ten minute video, but then add a little bonus video as a second option. It works! It impresses and makes people remember you, recommend you, and WANT you.

Use this tool, not only in business, but also in your social life and with your relationships.

People will want to do business with you, hang out with you and all types of good things will start to happen. Only because of a simple mind shift, by being aware of this rule and going that extra mile.

Most people are just average, and that’s what they expect. So when they meet somebody who’s better than what’s typical, you leave a lasting impression.

You should try to be extra passionate, extra interesting, extra interested and extra skilled.

If you have a store, leave a handwritten thank you note in the bag for the customer. Or send out a Christmas card to your clients. It doesn’t have to cost you much. Just give a little chocolate to your client or something that’s unique.

If you’re used to the status quo, you probably know that it will keep you in business, but you will never really prosper or make the serious gains you desire. If you underperform you should really be careful, but if you overdeliver, then you’ll start to attract some amazing opportunities.

It’s hard to do this right all the time, but it should be the general vibe that you give off. Make people’s experience with you a pleasurable one. It works like magic!

I hope this inspires you to be awesome, and if you have something you want to share, or any questions, leave them right here in the comments.

Let’s move forward…

– Casper Stang

Valuable Business Lessons From The Greatest Music Producers

The great producers of music can teach you some valuable lessons that are highly applicable to business and entrepreneurship. From Quincy Jones, Timbaland to Dr. Dre, the truly great producers are masters at having a vision, aiming for nothing but greatness, and bringing something extraordinary and unique to the world.

My background in the music industry, and working with creative teams, has taught me some valuable lessons. I have learned the most especially from my biggest idols in music. Their work ethic is impeccable and they are phenomenal at assembling the best team for the job to execute their ideas.

Master producers are visionaries, leaders, business owners and entrepreneurs. Their unique philosophy and mindset have created some of the best music ever made, and a legacy that will last for decades.

Dr. Dre in particular, is known for his knack for business and is sitting pretty with approximately $710 million in net worth according to Forbes. His mindset has served him well.

What can we learn from individuals such as him that we can apply to our own businesses, when creating new products, trying to shake up the industry, or working with teams?

1. Be an orchestrator and organizer.

The greatest music producers are known for bringing in an explosive room full of talent and the best collaborators for the job. Then, they create an environment that encourages these creative minds to do their thing. They let these individuals and their individuality shine and bless the project.

They’re like orchestrators and they don’t try to do everything themselves. Think of the conductor of a symphony. They don’t play each instrument. They focus on what’s best for the project, and they leave ego at the door. They are open to many ideas and they latch on to the really great ones. The final product is a unique mix, well blended together into a final product before they put their stamp and name on it.

If something is missing, if the project is lacking that extra spice, they look at how or who can add that in.

Music studio

2. See the greatness in others.

Great music producers excel at seeing the strengths in different people, having high standards, and strive for perfection. They are effective at bringing out the best of the personality of each person on the team. For that to happen they have to create the right atmosphere for success. They also don’t try to force anyone to be something that they’re not.

For example, Dr. Dre never tried to change Eminem to fit more in with what was popular at the time. Instead, he brought the uniqueness out, and that’s what made him and his art so great. Together, they created something new.

3. Set out to create a hit.

Why would you start any project if you were not aiming for the crème de la crème?

The great music producers start a project with extremely high standards for what the project can truly be. The objective is always to make sure every endeavor becomes a true success. They’re interested in raising the bar, creating something that can cause reactions, that can provoke, entertain or make a huge impact on people. They learn from what’s not working, and they make sure that the final outcome sits perfectly.

When it feels right they release it to the world.

4. Dare to be different.

For something to be truly great, a classic, it has to be unique. This is what all successful and influential music producers know. Certainly, you can follow the patterns of a hit, but when you add your special uniqueness to the mix, it changes, evolves and becomes something new and special. Put your own spin on it and dare to be different.

You can start with what everyone else is using, but strive for a different and exciting way. Trust your vision, intuition and personal taste, and don’t be influenced by politics or current trends that are hot for a short fleeting time.

This is also true in business in general. You need to stand out and get attention to be able to dominate a marketplace. You have to dare to be different. Just look at Pharrell Williams and “Happy”.

Pharrell Williams

5. Have a finger on the pulse of what’s going on.

True masters are pioneers. A pioneer delves in uncharted territory. Pioneers question what’s currently going on. In order to do that, they stay up-to-date with where the trends are going. They are very competitive. Consider the famous words of Gordon Gekko: “The most valuable commodity I know of is information”.

Smart producers know what’s hot at the time, what’s working and what’s not working. They know what the norm is, and then they put their unique spin on it.

6. Be consistent.

The great masters that have been able to stay relevant over time have always been consistent. They stay true to who they are, what they like and for what they have a passion. They don’t just jump on the latest fad, or suddenly change their style, and so their brand remains intact. This is part of their branding, and their reputation. A Timbaland production is recognizable the same way a Disney movie is distinctive.

Great producers keep working diligently, even when they have success. They stay consistent with their work ethic. If they decide to launch something new, something outside of for what they’re known, they are sure to make it feel natural and organic … to their brand. Dr. Dre is a clear example with his successful headset line. This is very close to what we know him for: exceptional sound quality, and so the transition felt natural. There is a degree of trust with his product.

These traits are key to extraordinary success in any field. You can see the same qualities in movie directors, clothing designers, fashion icons and the list goes on and on. Perhaps you have to check your ego when taking this approach, but learn these skills and you’ll be able to take your game further. It’s the successful route for any entrepreneur, CEO, business owner, leader, visionary or creator.

If you want longevity, instead of chasing a quick buck, this is the way to go. Work like a great music producer!

Now let’s move forward…

– Casper Stang

How To Build A Business Around Your Creative Passion

Just imagine …  the ultimate dream. Waking up, having the most perfect cup of coffee, taking a deep breath of fresh air, and then starting your workday creating or building something that you’re truly passionate about. Even better is being able to do this every single day of the week. Is it possible? Of course it is!

Oh, I love this topic. If you’re a creative person and you’re not living out that passion, because you “need” to have another job to pay the bills, then something inside of you is slowly dying. There is no need for you to put yourself through such frustration, unhappiness and a lack of fulfillment.

Perhaps we tend to complicate matters … when it’s really not that hard. Think differently. You can turn that creative passion into a business and make a great living doing what you love!

But first, let’s get this one thing straight…

We’re all familiar with the concept of the “starving artist”. Creative people tend to not like the business side of pursuing their passion, and just want to be creative. In order for you to turn your creativity into a business you’ll have to get yourself some business skills.

Sure, you can outsource. Maybe you can let your manager, agent or assistant take care of your business, but if you want to thrive long-term, you will need to have a good foundational understanding of business yourself.

This might sound harsh to some at first, but we live in a world based on trade and commerce. It’s all a business in every society. Stop playing this “game” thinking it’s not important, or not for you. The sooner you realize this fact, the sooner you’ll be able to thrive. Become interested in business and then you’ll be on your way to turning your creative passion into a career.

Get used to wearing two different hats. Put the business hat on when you negotiate your fees, contracts and deadlines. You will need to act more like your own manager when you’re in this type of role. Put the creative hat on when you’re in your modem creating. To function well, learn to really separate the two. Don’t think about finances while you’re creating.

To be successful as a freelancer or business owner, you’ll need to know how to position yourself, sell and close deals, write up contracts and price your offerings in such a way that makes it profitable and sustainable long-term.

“So how do I get started?”

There are so many ways you can go about it. You can either package your creativity into a service that you provide, you can create a product, and you can teach or sell coaching. It’s all about supply and demand. How can you help, solve problems, or give value to other people or companies with your creative endeavors? It’s likely you can do many things in several different ways.

Let me give you an example…

If you’re a photographer, you can sell typical photoshoots. But you can also package your services more niche as a wedding photographer, baby photographer, real-estate photographer or a school portrait photographer. You can turn your best shots into prints that you sell online, you can sell some photographs through stock libraries, you can have monthly/yearly recurring contracts with magazines or fashion brands. Taking it one step further, you can turn your skills into online courses teaching other aspiring photographers about lighting, lenses and editing. The possibilities are endless!

You just need to think “outside the box”, which means the normal parameters of where your skill is typically used. Brainstorm all the different ways you can make money from your creative passion. Write down everything you can think of and do some research online. From there just figure out what you want to focus on and build your business around. Think long-term and how you want to position yourself in the marketplace. How can you stand out and be different?

Back to the photographer example … As a wedding photographer, there are usually lovely professional pictures done at the bride’s home as she gets ready with her entourage. At the same time, the groom and his group are getting ready, but the photographer is tied up. Perhaps you could be a photographer who specializes in “the guy’s’ story”. Your style could make a great addition to the final wedding memories.

My advice to you is to just get started. Nike said it best – “Just do it!” Don’t spend too much time thinking or creating your business plan before you take that first leap. Get your first client, and some quick wins to build momentum and experience. Tweak and polish your business from there, test and learn through trial and error.

It doesn’t take a lot of clients before you can make the transition from your current job, and to be able to work on your creative passion full-time. Be prepared to put in the actual work and be dedicated to making your dreams come true.

“But I don’t have an idea.”

You don’t have to come up with this brilliant idea that has never been done before. If it’s been done, there’s a market, which is a good indication that your passion can be profitable. You can however, put your own angle on it to make yourself stand out.

“What if my work isn’t good enough?”

I’m pretty sure your work is good enough for something. You may not be the best in the world, and you can work on that, but it’s likely you can help someone with your current skills. To use the photographer analogy, you may not be the best fashion photographer yet, but you can easily be a wedding photographer while you’re learning, or help companies with taking photographs for social media updates or website content. You can change your business as you go along and that’s totally fine. It’s called growing!

I hope this has given you some motivating ideas. It’s a big topic and I’m pretty sure that I’ll write more posts on this subject. Just know that today is a great time for you to start a business. With the Internet and social media, there’s really no boundaries and you can serve people all over the world. With 7.4 billion people on the planet, there’s a market for what you do. You just have to find the right angle and a clever way to position yourself.

I recently launched a free email course in Norwegian about this very subject! Head on over to casperstang.com/gratiskurs/ and check it out!

Now let me hear from you…

Any questions, thoughts or ideas? Leave a comment and let’s discuss it right here.

Remember to share this with any creative person who’d love to have the freedom and be his or her own boss.

Let’s move forward…

– Casper Stang

What Title Should You Give Yourself As a One-Man-Band Entrepreneur?

Business owner, entrepreneur, self-employed, solopreneur, freelancer, independent contractor; the title you give yourself can be any of these. How do you find the perfect title, … and does it really matter?

While it may not be the most important thing to consider, the way you market and brand yourself with your title can still make a huge difference in the type of business you attract.

Look at the labels above. They’re all basically the same thing. They all refer to a business entity with one person, and there’s really no difference, legally-speaking, but they are often interpreted and looked upon differently.

Your clients, or potential clients, are judging you based on your label. So, it’s a good idea to be conscious about what you call yourself. Finding just the right angle can be magical, so find a title that’s perfect for your business and your focus, and what you’re trying to convey and to do.

Here’s an example…

If you’re operating in a crowded space, you’ll have to find some way to stand out. Choosing a new and creative title can be a good trick. The title “personal trainer” is very commonly used in the fitness world, so what if you call yourself something different, for example “weight-loss coach”? You might be able to charge higher rates and attract more high-end clients because of the title alone because it doesn’t have as much bias attached to it.

With myself for example, “creative force” or “multi-passionate entrepreneur” is very fitting for me personally and what I do since I wear many different creative hats. You’ll also find other people using titles such as “lifestyle entrepreneur” or “solopreneur”.

Sure, you can switch titles depending on whom you’re talking to, but the best thing is to really find one label and stick with it. That way you won’t confuse anyone and you’ll be sending out a clearer message. It all comes down to your business plan, your ideal customer or client, and how you want to position yourself in the market. Are you looking for any type of business, medium-sized companies or more high-end clients?

Unfortunately, “self-employed” is often looked upon as another term for “unemployed”, so please keep that in mind. Especially when you buy your next car, rent an apartment or anything like that, it’s looked at as “high risk”. It’s very likely that you’ll have to fill out some extra paperwork if you go by this title.

“Freelancer” is probably the most common for one-man-band entrepreneurs. This is particularly true in the creative fields of photography, writing and design. It’s a pretty good title, along with your craft such as: “freelance web designer”. Many companies actually prefer this one instead of “business owner” because it speaks to a skill set.

A “freelancer” is often more affordable than an employee and cheaper than an agency. So if you’re just starting out with your own business, choosing this title can be a really productive idea.

If you want to be taken more seriously though, and attract bigger projects, “business owner” would perhaps be a better choice. A “business owner” is more trustworthy and reliable than a “freelancer” because it doesn’t say anything about being a one-man-band.

Bigger companies like to deal with serious companies that they can work with over time and really trust. A “freelancer” can seem more risky, especially when they’re hiring someone for a big project. You can still be a one-man-band and call yourself a “business owner”. Keep in mind, even an individual can be “president” of the company!

Now, let me hear from you.

What kind of title do you use? Are you using any creative titles? What are your thoughts on this?

Also share this post with any entrepreneur working for themselves.

Now let’s move forward…

– Casper Stang

10 Killer Tips To The New Entrepreneur Starting Out

Are you new to the business and entrepreneurial world? Perhaps you’re starting your first company and feel overwhelmed by everything you need to learn and to wrap your head around? Don’t worry; I’m here to help.

I’ve put together a great list right here … and these tips are the truth! The list could be longer, but these are my most important and crucial tips. This is what I have experienced personally through trial and error, failures and taking action. If you take these to heart, you’ll be doing yourself a big favor. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

Now on to the juice…

1. Set goals like a psychopath

Okay, crazy title, but if you want something big, then no average or typical type of mindset will get you there. That’s an honest and blatant truth… I’m sorry. To succeed, you have to be a little outrageous and prioritize your goals, your work and your life differently than others. It’s a lot better to reach high and set extremely tall orders, because you’ll achieve bigger results and that will trickle down to a stronger cash flow. You’ll need a big bank account to survive long-term in a tough business world.

Playing small can just cause you problems. Instead, think big!

2. Have a crystal clear vision

Like with any type of goal, to achieve anything, you need a clear vision! You want to be able to navigate and know which direction to take, when and how. What do you want to accomplish? Put together a game plan that complements your vision and execute on that plan.

If you don’t have a clear vision, you will easily fall off track. You will easily be jumping on the next shiny object or interesting opportunity. To be successful, you’ll need to be consistent over time, and for that you’ll need a clear vision. Learn to say “no” to things that don’t fall in line with your mission.

3. Pursue your passion

If you’re building a business around something you’re not interested in or don’t have a passion for, then you’ll most likely fail in the long run. Don’t just build a business around something that seems sexy or trendy at the time. Do what you love. Let your heart guide you.

Being an entrepreneur and building any business is hard work. If you don’t really love what you’re doing, then you won’t be able to put in the effort and hard work over a long period of time, which is necessary and crucial. It is the passion that will drive you through the ups and downs.

4. Take massive action

Many lessons will be taught through action. Don’t procrastinate and think you have to read a hundred books before you start. Nothing can prepare you fully for this entrepreneurial journey. Test yourself and learn under fire and remember to learn from your mistakes. If you read a book or go through any type of training material, put it in motion right away. That’s how you really learn.

Ideas are good and you can have a vision all you want, but you’ll need to execute and take massive action to make those ideas come true. You need the entrepreneurial hustle!

5. Get some quick wins early

As with anything worth investing time and money into, it’s good to have some quick wins early to build momentum and boost your self-esteem. It doesn’t have to be perfect; the point here is just to get a positive flow going, and to get the ball rolling. If you go through month after month without any victories, it’s very easy to get discouraged.

Get your first win quickly and make sure you keep winning small little victories every now and then to stay in a positive flow.

6. Know how to find answers

When you’re new to the business game you will obviously have a lot to learn. Being an entrepreneur is very different from being an employee or living a typical life. Running a thriving business demands some business skills.

Be resourceful and know how to find answers. Never stop learning and know that you don’t know what you don’t know. Be interested in business, sales, contracts, negotiation, accounting, and everything that’s necessary to take your business to the next level.

7. Focus on big wins

There are a lot of things you can do, and you’ll be presented with many opportunities, but choose to focus on the things that really moves the needle in your business and pushes you forward. Focus on the things that really make a difference. You’ll have to learn how to say “no” to requests that are less important, or will suck your time and energy, to dwell on the bigger scheme of things.

The big wins are often things we tend to avoid, such as paperwork, or following up that prospect for the umpteenth time. It can be the things that are a little outside of our comfort zone. But, you know they will give you big wins if you take proper action on them.

8. Learn how business typically works in your field

Every field is a little bit different and each has their own type of contracts, rates and agreements. Know what the norm is in your field and what your competitors are doing. If you want to be creative, that’s fine, but first get a good idea of what the norm is.

You’ll be able to position yourself smarter and if you do some research. It’s very likely that you’ll have some “aha!” moments and that you’ll learn some things that you hadn’t thought of before.

9. Network and make friends

You cannot win long-term if you are all alone. Build a team of people you can work with, that you can collaborate with, and who can keep you accountable.

Most of my biggest projects came through someone I knew or word-of-mouth marketing. For me it was about “being in the trenches” and talking to people. Understand the power of connections, and be consistently interested in what others are doing … especially in your field.

10. Be of service

Business is all about how you can give value to other people. When you shift your mind from “how can I make the most amount of money” to “how can I serve and add value to as many people as possible”, that’s when the magic really happens! Solving people’s problems adds value to you, your service or product.

How can you make a difference? Figuring this out (the sooner the better) will make your work more meaningful and it will give you a purpose.

BONUS – 11. Fail with pride

Failure is inevitable, especially when you are new. We all stumble when we are learning to stand, walk and then run! Embrace failure and see it as feedback and a learning experience. Each failure is just one step closer to your goal. It’s progress.

Fail with pride, keep your eyes on the prize, get your ass up and keep moving!

Is there anything you feel I left out or should be on the list? Maybe you have some tips from your own experience? Leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments, and make sure you share this post with a friend who is also starting out.

Now let’s move forward…

– Casper Stang