Letting Go Of Your Online ‘Friends’

Letting Go Of Your Online ‘Friends’
“John Reese”

If you’ve been on my newsletter list for the
past year (or more) then you know I’ve got through
quite a personal transformation…

In early 2009, I had moved from Florida
to California.  I spent about 12 months there
and then decided I wanted to go somewhere
else.  And I decided to do it in a bit of a ‘dramatic’
fashion…

I decided to get rid of everything I owned
(things) and just travel the world out of a small
backpack with just my laptop and a few days worth
of clothes.  I called it my MINIMALIST ADVENTURE.

I travelled to 3 different continents over the
next several months, and technically I’m still
on that trip — although, I got a bit burned out on
living out of a small bag (and not having a home base)
and so I decided it was better to set up a
‘home’ and then travel to and from there, and of
course acquire some more clothes and normal
stuff to be able to enjoy myself a bit more.  But
I’m still going to keep things to a minimum and
not acquire tons of things like I had in the past.

I’m back on the east coast and happy
to be closer to my family.  But here’s my ‘point’
to this message today and what I’ve learned
from my little ‘experiment’…

During the past several years, as I’ve talked
about many times before, I failed to release many
new marketing products.  Even ones I mentioned
were in the works ended up fizzling out when I
either changed my mind or got distracted with
other things; such as working on unrelated
business ideas.

I started out with a ‘bang’ back in 2004 when I
released “Traffic Secrets” (that most people
know me for) and then after that (I am willing
to admit) my popularity pretty much went downhill
from there because I did a poor job of releasing
a lot of new stuff — I’ve made it known how much
I hate product creation, and that had a lot to do
with it.

I ended up working on a lot on non-marketing stuff
during those years; I built a large content network
of sites (driven by articles and syndicated content)
and worked on some software projects.

But during the past 4-5 years or so something else
happened that affected everything I was working
on…

I GOT SEVERELY BURNED OUT.

I used to be a “marketing junkie” and maybe
you are too.  I used to read everything about
marketing (online and offline) I could get my hands
on.  I read Advertising magazines, Direct Marketing
periodicals, bought all the new marketing books,
you name it.  I lived and breathed marketing.

And what used to be a “fun” topic for me turned
into something that I had lost my passion for.
I felt like my creativity and the ‘fire’ that fueled
me as a serial entrepreneur since I was about
10 (when I ran a BBS and other little businesses)
was fading.

But then one day I really started to realize ‘what’
the problem was…

TOO MUCH NOISE.

And this is the same premise as to why I decided
to do my little Minimalist Adventure…

I was spending 10-15+ hours per day online.  Reading,
researching, and communicating with people.  I was
getting over 3,000 emails PER WEEK, and was involved
in all sorts of ‘networking’ stuff with social networks, etc.

I quickly reached over 5,000 ‘friends’ on Facebook… over
25,000 ‘followers’ on Twitter.  I was getting hundreds of
“direct messages” on Twitter and Facebook in addition
to all the emails that hit my inbox every week.

The Internet truly is like drinking from a fire hose.  And
I think it’s just becoming a bigger fire hose everyday!

To say I had personally reached ‘Information Overload’
is an understatement.  I had very little time to actually
THINK and to be creative.  Basically, I was becoming
a data zombie — like most people are today.

So I Decided To Make Some MAJOR Changes…

If you’ve been on my newsletter list for the past year
then you noticed many of them…

1.  I deleted my Twitter account.

I came to the realization that using Twitter just
wasn’t that profitable for ANY of the projects I
was working on.  It was becoming more of a
‘chat’ service than anything and had me
wasting a lot of my time.

2.  I deleted my Facebook account.

Facebook had me logging in many times a day.
(Like most people are doing right now.)  It was like
“Extended Email.”  Just another place people
were bombarding me with messages.  And to
be honest, I was spending a lot of my time filtering
through information about tons of people that
I didn’t care about.  I don’t mean to say I didn’t
care about the people, I mean I didn’t care to
see every ‘update’ that they were taking their
kids to soccer practice, or how their dog just
puked on their rug, or that they were excited
that their husband was finally taking them out
on a “date night” etc.  I’m sure you know what
I mean.  Facebook is really the “TOO MUCH INFO”
system of all systems.  It exposes you, at least
in my opinion, to too much info about people’s
lives.

3.  Several months ago, I left all the ‘mastermind’
and ‘brainstorming’ groups I was a member of.

I used to have regularly scheduled phone or
Skype chat sessions, usually multiple times
a month.  I had a little ‘brainstorming’ setup
with a friend of mine that was in the software
business (not marketing related) and we’d do
a call together every other week to talk about
our latest projects, what our bottlenecks were,
and to encourage each other to keep staying
productive (or helping solve problems).  But
I realized this was taking up a lot of my time
and after a few sessions, there wasn’t a lot
to keep talking about.  So I decided to stop
doing them, and my friend understood and
actually was feeling the same way.

I was also a member of a mastermind group
that mainly communicated via email — like
an email discussion list where one person
could post something and everyone would
get it, then someone would reply and everyone
would get the reply, etc. etc.  This was a
very influential group with some of the top
marketing ‘gurus’ but it also included some
other major infoproduct publishers – from
fitness, real estate, stock trading, relationship
advice, etc.  The members in the same
industries would try and support each other
with cross-promotions and JVs, and the
entire group would share test results and
talk about their business goals, challenges,
etc.  It was tough making the decision to
leave this group, but it was just another
thing adding to my inbox load as well as
just being another ‘pipe’ of information that
added to my overwhelm.  So I resigned
from the group and everyone understood
as I was moving on to other things in my
life and was trying to ‘downsize’ everything
I had going on.

4.  I changed my email address.

I just couldn’t take the amount of email I
was getting.  It was just too much.  It
gave me so much stress it wasn’t even
funny.  Maybe you are dealing with the
same thing?  So basically I declared
“email bankruptcy” and just changed
my email address.  And I only gave my
new email address to my family, close
friends, my employees & outsourced
workers, and other ‘mission critical’ people.
I still get ‘some’ emails from people
that I had to contact for something (and
they saw my new email address) etc.
but overall I have greatly reduced my
email load.

Today I get less than *20* total emails
per day. :)

And considering that 50% are probably
from my Mom (Mom, I do like
your emails!) I don’t get a lot of email
from that many different people.  And
I’m glad.

AFTER ALL OF THESE CHANGES, I COULDN’T
BE HAPPIER.

I’m now 100 times more creative than I have
been in the past 5 years.  I have less stress
and most importantly I spend a lot
less time on the computer.  I never realized
how much I was using the computer everyday.
It’s actually a pretty amazing thing to only
be online a short amount of time each day.
Go figure. :)

And as many of my long-time customers and
subscribers know, for over 2 years I’ve been
“in motion” of following a lifelong dream… to
be in the Video Game/Entertainment business.
I’ve talked for years about making games and
working on other ‘fun’ projects.  It’s a much
different business than an Internet publishing
business, but I really enjoy it — even, though,
the new company has been slow with generating
revenue (we’re getting there, though.)  That
industry has really changed in the past few
years.  You still need some capital to build
a business there, but you no longer need
$20MM to create a ‘console’ game for the
Xbox, Playstation, etc.  Small indie developers
are finding success with iPhone games and
Facebook too.  I’d love to create the next
“Angry Birds” or “Doodle Jump” but we’ll
see. :)  For those that don’t know, the
99 cent game “Angry Birds” on the iPhone/iPod
Touch has now generated over
$10,000,000 in sales!  I think that includes
their $4.99 version for the iPad too.  But it’s
amazing especially when the
game has barely been out for one year.
And they’re already talking about leveraging
the game into possibly a cartoon and other
merchandising opportunities.  And that’s just
ONE game idea.  I have tons of them. :)

I now have a little ‘Game Studio’ in the
Philippines, and setting that up and my
experiences with it is what really motived
me to do my “Outsource Force” class earlier
this year.  I really think it’s a HUGE component
to building a scalable business — leveraging
labor costs and having others grow your
business for you.  We’re also now in a position
to do contract work where we build games
(and other apps) for other companies — another
great opportunity. The demand for iPhone apps
and other mobile application development is
HUGE now
. (And growing.)  In fact, it’s one
of the fastest growing industries in the world.
So I’m looking forward to our future.  This is
a really exciting time in history — the ‘shift’
from desktop computing to mobile computing.

The outsourcing advantages are common sense really.
Steve Jobs isn’t assembling iPads in a factory
somewhere.  In fact, Apple itself doesn’t
really build many of their own products.
Almost all of their products are manufactured in China
now.  It just makes the most financial sense.  We
live in a Global Economy now and as a business
owner you need to tap into all the resources at
your disposal to have the best chance of survival.

So I’m spending most of my time on this little
game/apps company now.  As I mentioned a few
weeks ago, I’m now spending only about 10%
of my time on this marketing business,
and I’ll probably shut it down within 6 months —
all my employees are in the process of moving
over to the new company and I just have less
and less time to spend teaching.  While I do
love teaching (and of course all my great customers)
I ultimately love being an entrepreneur myself.
And I’ve made it no secret that I never
wanted to be a ‘guru’ anyway.  Just not really
my cup of tea.

* I’m still working on the TS2.5 update that
all TS owners will get for free.  You’ll get an
email when it’s done with download instructions.
(Thanks for your patience.)  Aside from that
I won’t be producing any new marketing products.

I recently signed a ‘brokerage’ agreement with
Sedo, one of the top domain name companies
in the world, and they’re in the process of selling
my income.com domain.  They’ve listed it at
$1MM but think they can sell it for more.  We’ll see.
I want to use the additional capital to build the
game/apps company.

THE BIG ‘TAKEAWAY’ FOR TODAY…

I know my ‘moves’ aren’t the best for everyone,
but I do challenge you to think about minimizing
your communication with your online ‘friends’ that
you connect with on Facebook, Twitter, and via
email.  They very well may be taking away from
your life and your business rather than adding to
it.  We really do only have just so many hours
available to us in a day, and it’s really hard to
reach your goals if you spend a large percentage
of your time “communicating” and “researching”
and not “doing.”

Yours For Online Profits,

John Reese