In International Trade we learn the idea of comparative advantage, and how countries benefit from trading with each other if one is better at producing a commodity than another.
Within the first few lectures the professor will emphasize that a country doesn’t need absolute advantage for trade to be beneficial, just comparative advantage.
I think this concept can be applied to team dynamics.
Two days ago I attended The Santa Barbara Business Expo, my first networking event. Almost all the business blogs and books I’ve read give importance to networking and nothing convinced me more than when I met with my friend Jackie, a real estate agent. I asked her how business was since she had only become a licensed for a few months earlier, and from what I know about real estate, it takes years to get clients. But she told me that she’s busy and business keeps coming. What? How? I asked her what she did for marketing, and how she sought clients.
“Well, it was really easy. I found some real estate agent networking events to go to, and this guy I met told me he was leaving for Shanghai and gave me all his clients”.
My eyes widened. Of course there was some luck to this, and I couldn’t help myself from being jealous. I had spent the past few months, thinking of a business identity and value proposition, targeting my niche, sending out cold emails, meeting with potential middlemen …and Jackie just goes to a networking event and gets handed business.
I worked a lot for my mentor, Dan Chung. All of us did. Of course there were some of us that worked a lot harder than others, I always got yelled at for working little and I admit there were many times when I would weasel my way to taking a short break. But I always did some amount of work, I wasn’t as lazy as I seemed.
Dan says that a good manager can just peek into the room once in a while and know who’s slacking. Then why couldn’t Dan see that half the time I did shovel dirt, line bricks, mop floors, and wipe tables. I deserved more credit than that, or so I thought.
Most workers think like this. That doing some work entitles you to some credit, some appreciation. But it doesn’t. There is no difference between half-work, and no work.
The boss’s only concern of the worker is that the worker gets the job done, or tries relentlessly. If a task isn’t fully completed, then it serves no purpose for the boss.
Expected Value is the Profit or Loss from a decision times the probably of that happening.
Box A has a 25% chance of giving you 30 dollars, a 50% chance of giving you 20 dollars, and a 25% chance of giving you 10 dollars. It costs 15 dollars to buy box A, what is your expected value?
30-15=15 ; 15 x .25= $3.75
20-15= 5 ; 5 x .5 = $2.50
A few months ago I was talking to my friend Tony, a video producer. He said his business was going well but he’s relying too much on his former company referring him business and has no idea how to generate business for himself. Since I am interested in marketing and selling, I told him I would market his services for him with a 30% cut. He agreed.
I started off as clueless as he was. I knew that marketing required segmenting the population, and really zoning in on the target niche. However, almost anyone with a product or service could benefit from video production. My assumptions were that those who demanded video production services didn’t need much convincing, but I had no idea how to find these people.
I posted in Sebastian Marshall’s community section and someone commented that while he (the commenter) was working as a web developer, clients told him that they needed these services. This gave me an idea.
I could target the middleman, the people whose clients may demand my services: marketing agencies, graphic design agencies, and web development agencies.
Lucky for me, I had already located an example email script. I pulled the email script from Ramit Sethi’s book, “Finding Your First Profitable Idea” and tweaked the wording.
Yesterday while buying a handle of vodka, the vodka bottle pierced through the thin plastic bag.
I looked at the shop owner like ...the bag broke.
He looked back and condescendingly replied "oh yeah the bag broke? So it was the bags fault"
I hesitently nodded.
"Take another bottle and have a good night"
I think I’ve finally crossed the path out of complete beginner. I closed my first client two weeks ago, got paid for the first time last week, and I’m waiting for 3 potential clients to sign and pay the deposit. For a while I thought I’d be sending out cold emails forever. I also thought I’d be clueless when pitching to clients forever. Now, my hands still jitter when I walk into a meeting, but I enjoy pitching to clients face to face now. I can honestly say that the thought “Why do I have to meet them in person, can’t I just pitch to them through email?” has completely left my mind.
There’s a few things I’ve noticed from my progression that I’d like to highlight:
-I’ve found books like The Sales Bible, Selling to Vito, Spin Selling to be very boring. I learned the most about sales from Ramit Sethi’s creative live session. (Note: I would get Earn1k but I can’t afford it. Also, I don’t really like Ramit, or his blog. I find his style of writing arrogant and his free material gimmicky. But his creative live session really is what’s helped me the most).
-When starting out, it’s very tricky to balance doing work for cheap to get experience, and saying no to jobs that constrict you in pay and/or creativity.
-Mentors save you a lot of time, although, finding a good mentor is really hard. I was asking everyone for advice: my professors, my parent’s friends, friends, even strangers at networking events.
Last weekend I attended Ontrapalooza, the company that took over office autopilot. I’d have to say, this is by far the best networking event I’ve gone to. It really made me realize the importance of networking, and just how beneficial networking is. See, in 2 days I’ve met tons of influential people: people who I’d like to work with, and people who if they liked me enough could gift a career to me. I’ve met a big time movie producer, big time event videographer, an Australian who helps companies like Apple set up backend data systems among others. I also heard crazy stories too like Yee Shun Jian of 101 Powerful Affirmations, and how he put all his money into stocks and lost everything, only to build it back up.
It’s an eye opener to the power of networking, and that power hit me in the middle of the day when I realized, wow, I could meet 20-30 influential people today. That’s crazy. Like, not 20-30 helpful people, but 20-30 people who work with Fortune 500 companies or are mini internet celebrities.
I’m barely anxious when I attend these events anymore, since I know I would naturally ask them questions that interest me. It’s actually kind of fun to think about who you might meet next.
One thing I’m going to tell all my friends is that if you’re not spending time honing your craft, then that time should be spent networking.
“Give Value” is common advice nowadays. “If you give enough value to the world, you’ll get value” they say. But why? How? How does giving your time and energy and being helpful actually help you get more than you put in?
A while back I was at a business conference and a blogger was sharing the “Give Value” insight. He writes and gives away his content for free and after a while a few writers affiliated with the book “The Secret” saw and liked that he was giving so much value and sent massive traffic to his blog. His pointed out that it’s not the people he gave value to that returns value – value is returned from those who were bigger than him who liked what he was doing.
I thought about this idea – the idea that the value doesn’t come from people you target but from people higher up. I want to expand this idea, because I don’t think it works exactly this way.
I think that the rewards from giving value come from neither the act of giving value nor a series of acts. Giving value is a characteristic.Giving value means being a person who genuinely hopes for the best in everyone. I want my characteristic to be so, that when looking at any particular person, I will want that person to be the best they can be and to achieve the most they intend.
When that happens, the way I interact with people becomes different. The words I use are different. People can inherently feel this characteristic and are naturally drawn toward it. And that’s where the rewards come from. People feel this value giving characteristic and want to build upon it, so they give value to it.
I was jumping on a trampoline and feeling pretty good from landing some moves I was working on. I did a back hand spring, and bounced a few times back and forth gaining momentum. Then a front flip - pretty soon, I felt invulnerable. Maybe it was the release from all the fear and frustration of not getting my moves, or if it was the bliss of being in the air, but I felt invincible. Then, with momentum carrying me upon landing, I ricocheted off the trampoline and banged my heel on the steel base of a vault. The fall must have only been 3-4 feet max, but ouch. Funny how quickly invulnerability fades when you realize how fragile the human body is.