A Candid Discussion On The Art Of Persuasion…
I want to take you on a journey into the last 16 years of my life. And I want to do it in a way that adds context and understanding as to why and how, dedicating your life to mastering the art of persuasion, is the single most important thing you can do if you wish to live a life filled with success and happiness.
Just about everything that you do in life involves dealing with people in some shape or form, both directly or indirectly.
“Dealing” is the art of being able to take as much time, effort and energy needed to understand the person in front of you and then figure out what you have to offer them, then engage in a fair win-win trade. This can be a physical trade, an emotional trade, an intellectual trade or even a psychic or spiritual trade. It is the kind of trade where both parties or all parties involved, win. This is also otherwise known as equilibrium.
“most people are genuinely afraid and they just have a strong front”
The term “Persuasion” has received a lot negativity when discussed over the years. There are a lot of fears, insecurities, anger and frustration surrounding this topic. One of the reasons why is that most people are genuinely afraid and live in the realm of scarcity based thinking. They are usually afraid that people will take advantage of them. This causes them to be driven by powerful dark emotions, causing them to hurt other people and take advantage of them. They also leave themselves open and vulnerable to being hurt by others. This is a vicious cycle. A cycle where one party wins and the other loses. It’s a cycle where both parties inevitably lose in the end.
Contained within “my story” are priceless lessons which I have emphasized with bolds and underlines. These lessons have taken me over 16 year to learn. The funny thing is that when I discuss these lessons with some people, the response is “I know them”. What I’ve learned over the years is that there is a big difference when it comes to knowing something at a theoretical level and living that knowledge everyday. Doing is way harder than theoretical learning. Therefore, if you want to develop masterful persuasion skills, you must “Do” way more. Do not make the mistake the just becasue you know something from a theoretical level, you are masterful at it. This is both delusional, and disrespectful to the people around you, especially yourself.
Here is how I came to be where I am right now. This is a very concentrate and condensed version but it’s going to give you a bit of insight of how I think and see reality. You’re going to find this very insightful because my guess is that you and I are a lot alike. You’ve probably found this site through my Youtube channel, or maybe someone referred you to me, or perhaps I’ve met you somewhere or at some point in my life, and you wish to do a little research on the current “version” of my character.
For the sake of keeping this brief yet revealing, this story starts in 1997. During that time I first got introduced to the world of high speed Internet. And being very entrepreneurial as I was, I realized that I could use the Internet to build a business.
“The MP3 business wasn’t the most legit or legal, but I found it to be very fascinating and revealing…”
I first started by absorbing the trends of what some of the other businesses out there were doing using the Internet. The ones that peaked my initial interest were dealing with MP3s. I’m sure there were other business online, and perhaps the MP3 business wasn’t the most legit or legal, but I still found it very fascinating and revealing. Fascinating enough that I took action and started my very own little file serving business, where I got paid by generating traffic to a website. It was an “adult” based website and they would pay me up to $.25 for every visitor I sent them.
I figured out by analyzing the other competitors in this area, that it was very easy and scalable to ask somebody to visit a website in exchange for giving them the MP3s they were looking for. Back then MP3s were new and most people did not know that they exist. Word was spreading fast however, more and more people were looking online to get digital versions of their favourite songs. In business, “positioning” is everything! Being at the right place, at the right time, with the right message and the right offer, can mean the difference between radical success and drastic failure, and I was definitely ready to capitalize on this opportunity as all my positioning was spot on.
I launched my little business and within a few days I started making tens, and eventually hundreds of dollars doing this over and over again, scaling it to higher levels using automation software. I eventually stopped because I realized, it wasn’t the most legitimate way to build a business and I did not want to end up getting in trouble with the law. The laws surrounding MP3s at that time were pretty grey but in a decade to follow, as the big music companies begin to take action, the implications of dealing with them became pretty severe. Although the business needed to be dismantled, It did give me a glimpse into myself and a realization of my entrepreneurial spirit and personality. At a later point in my life, this time became the key reference point of realization, that I was in fact: a true, entrepreneur/businessman/opportunist. A personalty that I felt I battled with my whole life becasue I let others talk me out of it, resulting in loosing myself and denying who I really am.
“Almost every problem in life can be resolved through masterful persuasion skills…”
Over the years that followed, I never went back nor revisited other more legit ways that I could build a business using the Internet, only because I didn’t have the support/mastermind/relationships/understanding, I now possess. I don’t like to live with regrets, but sometimes I do wonder how my growth rate would have been if I only stayed focused during this time when hardly anyone was using the Internet to build a business. My level of success in business might have been 300%, 800% or 5000% higher, than today. (Lesson #1, Stay focused and go deep with what/who you have right now. The most important thing/person in your life is in front of you right now.)
What ended up happening instead was that I just went down the route of getting into the world of blue-collar jobs. I wasn’t really interested in school so I didn’t do very well at, in fact I hated it. Most of the stuff they taught me there had no practical application in the world I was interested in, the world of business. Except maybe math but even then, I was never taught how to use math to make/save/invest money, something I learned on my own at a later time in my life with the help of mentors. After working warehouse job after warehouse job, I realized that I should use some of my computer experience to land me in a job that I would actually enjoy doing.
One of my friends got me a job working at a large retailer’s warehouse in the year 2000. I noticed that they had postings for technical positions in their head office. The downside however was that they required a college or university level completion and I had nothing close to that. So I took some IT courses on the side to show them I had some formal education and really rely on my ability to persuade (this was the beginning of my understanding and realizations of the power of persuasion) them to want to give me the position – and it worked. (Lesson #2, Almost every problem in life can be resolved through masterful persuasion skills)
“From entrepreneurism to the corporate and then back full circle into entrepreneurism..”
Over the next 10 years as I worked in corporate, I became obsessed with learning every aspect of business. From IT to client support, networks, dealing with conflict, understanding finance/reports, and learning about different aspects of corporate from procedures to politics, technologies, relationships and just about everything else I could learn. I’d work long hours, being the first that would show up and the last to leave. I used all my energy in my 20’s to master anything I could about building a business.
On the side I would learn sales, marketing, communication, public speaking and how to persuade. I learned that the kind of communication we learn formally has nothing to doing with the kind of communication you need to learn to put solid deals together. I studied people, I observed how they would behave in social and political situations, I would learn the games they play and how not to get taken advantage of. I learned, the importance of being a good person even though the business world is a lot of times, cold and ruthless. It was a very deep and reflective time in my life and a time I was very blessed to have been exposed to. I got to know these things in such a granular level that I eventually left my my position and started my first IT based business full-time in 2009.
The realization that I wanted to go back to my entrepreneurial roots came as a result of reading two books. Number one was The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. This book taught me that if I wanted to live a happy fulfilling life and provide massive amounts of contribution to people around me, I would have to chase my own personal legend. This reminded me of my abilities, that I saw in myself when in 1997, but never took the time and energy to develop them. In fact, I put my skills aside and assumed that building a successful business was just a pipe dream. (Lesson #3, follow your heart and dreams, everything else will work itself out. Don’t be afraid to be who you are. Who you are is magnificent! Never let anyone else tell you otherwise.)
The other book that I read was the 4 Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris. This book reminded me again that I need to go back and leverage the Internet. Now, there was far more competition in 2009, than there was in 1997. I realized that if I only spent enough time researching/implementing/testing/optimizing and growing, I can go back to doing what I really loved to do, I was born to do, and that was building a business.
“Two books that inspired me to take massive action…”
These two books reminded me that if I wasn’t going to take action now, then it might not be something that I could ever revisit later on in my life. In 2009, I was 29 and I had all the energy, all the time, all the experience and all the understanding that I needed to take the leap. It was the best ever time ever to do it.
It was hard for me to leave corporate because I wanted to grow and move my way up eventually, into the role of a CEO – maybe not in that organization but perhaps another. I had met such amazing people, had amazing life experiences, was learning new things every day. I learned not just about business but also myself. To me it was an Odyssey into my own mind. I grew rapidly and developed myself up to the point where I’d become a valuable asset for any company that I’d work with.
“I went back to my roots and did what I loved to do..”
In the summer of 2009, I officially tendered my resignation in my position to go out and build an IT business from scratch. The first two years were very hard. I had a house that I owned, and I put it up for rent so that I could move to downtown Toronto because there were far more opportunities over there. I realized within a few months that my tenants were deadbeats. They were very slow on paying the rent and even missed rent payments. This caused me a lot of financial strain.
“For the first time in over six years, I found myself in credit card debt again..”
Let me add more context to what I’m talking about. In 2004 I realized that I was in around $50,000 in debt, which included credit card debt and car loans. It was then when I read Napoleon Hill’s Think And Grow Rich and watched the movie “The Secret”. That book and movie had such a profound impact on me that within a few short years, I was able to clear out my debt and buy my first house.
Okay let’s fast-forward back to my tenant story now, it was devastating to realize that I would have to sell my house. I had pretty much burned through most of my bootstrapping capital and to make matters worse, I was paying a mortgage including utilities that I wasn’t getting any money for, plus I was paying rent in Toronto.
I eventually went and sold that house, because I realized that I needed to dedicate 100% of my energy on my business. To do this I had to let go of anything that was holding me back physically, mentally and emotionally. This is also when I started getting involved with minimalism. I sold off my possessions because I felt that by clearing out as much clutter of my life as possible, I can gain focus and grow my business.
The first few years in business were very hard and my IT business was struggling. I was taking on as many different gigs on the side as possible, such as scalping tickets, selling stuff on Craigslist, working as a dishwasher and many other things to maintain not having to go back to a job.
“I met other tech companies and we started working deals which would eventually result in them buying out my clients…”
My business eventually started to grow. I started to focus a lot on selling/marketing and figuring out innovative ways to build my
business. I started doing Internet marketing/teaching speed reading/consulting/building websites/optimizing other businesses. Eventually the money that I was making from my business allowed me to grow and sustain myself as I built my IT business to having 50+ clients. I met other tech companies and we started working deals which would eventually result in them buying out my clients so that I could focus on the things that I really enjoyed in business. This was around the time where I had reduced all my possessions to live out of a backpack.
Watch this video below, which shows me 2013, talking about what I have in my backpack. Four years and until this day, I still live like this.
In 2012 and up until now, my business has grown and has greatly surpassed the income that I used to make at corporate, which allows me to travel, run my business from anywhere in the world, meet the coolest people and have such amazing adventures that I could have never imagined existed and are so outside of my past reality of when I first got started down this path. The projects I am involved with now are IT, consulting, joint venturing, affiliate marketing, teaching, investing, deal making and a lot of different things that are run with the help of a team of contractors around the world who I’ve hired to support the workload and day to day tasks.
“I learned how to persuade, which is the most important skill you can have in business and life..”
It’s amazing when I look back in retrospect and realize that this journey has been anything but smooth. There have been a lot of ups, downs, sweat and tears. In the end however, it was all worth it and I don’t look back or regret anything. Being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want, both in work and play is the current position and one that is a net result of all the different learning experiences, mentors and action steps taken along the way.
Throughout the entire process of corporate, building and selling an IT business and the many other projects that I’ve been involved with, I’ve learned the importance of focus, hard work, discipline, optimization, sales, relationships, marketing, process, systems, progressive overload and many other important components that I now have embedded in me. This is now all deeply wired in my brain, something I can call upon to tackle any problem that I have, not just in business but in any area of my life.
I learned how to persuade and put deals together, which is the most important skill you can have in business and life. If you have this skill you can pretty much live any life that you want.
So again to recap, the world of business has and continues to be an exciting journey for me. The first few years are usually very hard but if you can stay through the chaos you will self-correct and things will start to get easier. This is not the path that many people take in life. This path might not even be for you. But my hope is that on my YouTube channel and on this site, I could share with you valuable insights and realizations that I’ve learned through experience, as you can see above, to help you on your own specific endeavors, so that you can achieve your own dreams whatever they may be.
Right now on my Youtube channel, I summarize and discuss different persuasion books to thousands of loyal subscribers. Perhaps one day, I will write my own book, one that will greatly benefit you like a lot of book have to me, that is the intent of the Youtube channel, it is a positioning strategy. For now, I continue to work on my projects. I do offer support for business in many ways and it’s a joy to be involved in the growth and development of businesses around the world, if you wish to work with me and my team, please take a moment to browse my programs page or you can get in contact with me on my contact page if you wish to discuss business or whatever else that inspires you.
In closing I want to leave you with the most inspirational quote I have ever read/realize/meditated upon in my life. This is a quote from Steve Jobs, which was extracted from the Stanford commencement speech, shortly prior to his passing away.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. – Steve Jobs