The Biggest Problem With Mastermind Groups

If you haven’t heard of them before, masterminds are groups that meet at regular intervals. Perhaps once a week, once a month, or once a quarter. It’s common for members to talk about their goals as well as things they’ve done in their businesses. It’s also common for members to encourage, and offer advice to others as well.

The thinking behind mastermind groups is that having others to offer outside perspectives on your goals as well as accountability is useful. The concept of masterminding certainly sounds good from this angle.

The big problem, however, is that mastermind groups usually consist of people either haven’t yet succeeded, or people that simply aren’t going to succeed. With this being the case, it’s not inconceivable how being in a mastermind group isn’t always as useful as it would first seem.

My recommendation to you is as follows… Start your own mastermind group and carefully select or filter those that are allowed to join the group. This will still give you accountability and brainstorming benefits of masterminds, without you having to receive potentially misguided advice or being annoyed that weaker members field advice without actually applying it.

By only allowing highly motivated, ambitious, and action-oriented individuals into the group, you can gain all the benefits of masterminds and expand your network with a fairly minimal time investment.

More Information Is Not The Answer

Do you need to read more books to finally lose weight? Do you have to watch more videos to learn how to talk to girls? The answer… probably not. Derek Sivers once said, “If information were the answer, we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.”

It’s true. Everyone knows you need to eat healthy foods and exercise several times per week to lose weight. Yet, how many people actually do it?

Or, people know something like e-commerce or coding is hot. Yet, how many people are still stuck working low-level jobs?

Even if you know opportunities exist, the real value isn’t in having information. The real value is in applying that knowledge. The unfortunate reality, however, is that most people fall far too short on the action side of the equation.

In short, action is what’s going to take your life to the next level. Once you gain some momentum with taking action, information then becomes useful.

Information can then help you optimize your actions. Plus, pursuing your goals shifts your reticular activating system to see how you could actively apply the things you’re consuming.

#1 Get a base level of knowledge (which you’ve probably already done).

#2 Take action.

#3 Make action a habit.

#4 Consume from experts to optimize your approach.

#5 Calibrate your actions.

The 30 Second Will Someone Be Interesting Test

Beyond vocal tonality and the way they carry themselves, there’s another easy way to tell if someone will be an interesting person. When you meet someone new, simply ask them, “What are you passionate about?”

90% of people will say, “You know… I like to eat, or ummm watch football, uhhh hang out with friends.”

Beyond simply having generic hobbies (which isn’t always a problem in itself), these people are also likely to respond to you in an uninspired fashion. They’ll also often hesitate before responding. If the response you get from someone is similar to this… they’re almost guaranteed to be uninteresting.

If someone can’t be engaged and energetic when talking about something they love… it’s likely any further conversation with them will prove to be dull as well.

Maya Mall in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Living in Chiang Mai, Thailand for a month was an amazing experience. Chiang Mai is the digital nomad capital of the world for good reason — It’s among the cheapest and most convenient cities in the world. Breakfast in bed for $2, a central apartment with pool and gym for $300, decent English skills.

There’s a reason Chiang Mai gets a lot of love from nomads. While I think much of Chiang Mai’s love is cultlike, it is a solid nomad base. While I’m happy to be back in Saigon now, I do miss Chiang Mai sometimes.

I don’t just miss the prices and laid back vibe though. Chiang Mai is an underrated city for entertainment options. From ziplining, to elephany cantuaries, to cooking classes, Chiang Mai has lots of activities to fill you leisure time.

One of the most popular places to chill out, however, is Maya Mall. Maya is the city’s most popular mall located just off the famous Nimmanahaeminda Road. If you’re looking for a place to relax with friends or cool down during Chiang Mai’s sweaty afternoons, Maya is as good a place as any other for you to check out.

I may not be a big shopper, but I had a good time checking out the mall nonetheless. Exploring Maya’s many floors is a great way to pass an afternoon or night out during your stay in Chiang Mai. Plus, there’s an awesome food court!

I hope you enjoy the video. It should give you a good idea of the types of shops and excitement waiting for you at Maya. Most importantly, I hope you have the opportunity to visit Maya Mall for yourself someday!

5 Tips for Your First 100 Followers on Twitter

While it’s been a few years since Twitter was the trendiest social network, Twitter is still a powerful social media platform. Twitter’s growth has all but stagnated. Yet with 300,000,000+ users growing a following on Twitter is still a worthy endeavor.

Aside from promoting your brand or product, Twitter is also great for absorbing concise knowledge from some of the greatest minds on the internet. Twitter is also a powerful networking tool if used correctly. Of course, without any followers, Twitter isn’t going to help you land freelance gigs or push more sales.

If you’re new to Twitter and need to build up your following, here are some of the things you’ll want to do to get your first 100 followers:

#1 Follow Others Daily

If you want to get more followers, a great way to do so is by following new users everyday. When you follow others they get a notification. Many of these people you follow will reciprocate and follow you as well.

While this may not be a productive use of time for someone that already has 1,000,000 followers, it can be a great way to go from 21 or 34 followers to 100 or 245 followers. Let’s make a few important notes on this strategy, however.

The first thing that’s important to understand is that following and unfollowing too many accounts each day may lead to your account getting frozen or banned. The other thing that’s important to note is that you’ll want to follow people that are in your industry.

By following people in your industry there’s a much higher chance they’ll be interested in the things you post and feel inclined to follow you back.

#2 Engage With Others

Another important strategy in building up your Twitter following is engaging with the content of others. If I like your Tweets, comment on them, and retweet your content, it’s going to get your attention.

There’s a good chance you’ll become interested in my content and share it as well. As Dale Carnegie says, “To be interesting, be interested.”

The same thing applies on Twitter. If you want others to pay attention to you, it’s necessary for you to pay some attention to them as well. Twitter is a place to have discussions, not merely another channel to broadcast your message. If you stop listening as soon as you’ve said something, you’ll quickly find others stop listening to you as well.

#3 Promote Others

As I alluded to before, promoting others makes them more likely to share your stuff. If you share someone’s video, they’re going to feel inclined to give your Tweets some attention as well.

Another good idea is to promote others with your content. If you want attention from the founder of Treehouse (a membership site company that offers programming courses), you may want to write a blog post titled 5 Reasons I Enjoy Learning with Treehouse or The Vital Feature Treehouse Needs to Adopt to Stay Successful in 2018.

If you tweet a post like that to Treehouse’s founder, he’s almost certain to read it. People love reading stuff about themselves and the things they’ve done. Writing a blog post called Advice for LeBron James or Why Donald Trump Needs to do X is unlikely to be personally read by your target figure simply because that person is simply too difficult to reach without a connection.

Small to fairly large figures are surprisingly reachable, however, if you can offer them some sort of value. Offer a small to medium figure value, and there’s a great chance they’ll follow you. Even better yet, they’ll likely share your content with their followers which will lead to more potential followers for you.

#4 Leverage Other Social Media Platforms

Creating a Twitter Account in 2017 puts you at a disadvantage compared to professionals and businesses that began using Twitter a decade ago. Fortunately, there is a way to largely combat this disadvantage. You can leverage other social media followings you’ve built.

By promoting your Twitter account on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and/or other social media platforms, you can siphon attention you’ve already built on other platforms onto your new Twitter account. This allows you to greatly jumpstart your new Twitter account’s growth.

#5 Link to Your Twitter on your blog, Youtube, email signature, etc

By linking to your Twitter account in a number of places, you’ll build awareness around your new Twitter account. This allows people who would be interested in following you on Twitter to easily find and follow you.

Conclusion

By applying these tips for getting your first 100 (or more!) followers on Twitter, you’ll be off to a great start. Building a following is always slow in the beginning, but once you have a few hundred or thousand followers, you’ll find organic growth quickly pick up.

Is Twitter Still Relevant in 2017?

Twitter is one of the oldest social networking sites still popular today. Having been around for over 10 years this microblogging platform has changed a lot over the last decade. At its core, however, is still breaking news and the 140 character limit.

Yet, after all this time, is Twitter still relevant? Should you invest time in maintaining an active Twitter account for your business or personal brand? Here’s my experience.

I’ve used Twitter to promote this blog and my Youtube channel. I’ve also used Facebook and Instagram. Besides just promoting my own content, I’ve used Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to try to build relationships with other digital nomads, freelancers, and business owners.

Unfortunately, I’ve found that using Twitter gets me much lower engagement on my content. I’ll get 100-200 likes by posting something on Instagram, but get just a single like or retweet if any, by posting the same thing on Twitter.

I’ve also checked my Youtube analytics. Facebook always drives more traffic to my videos than Twitter. In the last 28 days for example, Facebook has brought 53 visitors to my videos versus just 3 visitors from Twitter.

youtube view analytics

In other words, engagement with my content pretty much sucks on Twitter. You could argue that the reason for this is because my Instagram account is older and more established than my Twitter account. Fair enough. That doesn’t explain the huge discrepancy, however, between my Twitter and Facebook.

Both of those accounts were created the same month. Plus, since creating those accounts, I’ve spent 18.5 hours building up my Twitter account vs just 8.5 hours growing my audience on Facebook (I log my daily time usage). It just doesn’t add up. Except, it does.

If you’ve ever watched Gary Vaynerchuk, you’d know that he always says, “Marketers ruin EVERYTHING.” It’s true. The typical trend for a medium (television, social media platform, whatever) is as follows.

First, regular people begin giving their attention to the medium. Then, a few trendy marketers get the idea to start advertising to these people. The marketers realize they’re getting a great ROI.

They scale up their marketing efforts, and tell their friends. Soon enough, the signal to noise ratio on the platform shifts significantly. Consumers start by trying to tune out the noise. You’ve seen this before. How quickly do you reach for your phone when there’s a commercial on TV?

It’s the same reason Twitter engagement sucks. Too many people just promote their own shit on Twitter without repping the great stuff everyone else is putting out. Even worse, a lot of people just automate their Twitters entirely. Because of this, it’s hard to get your content to stand out above all the noise.

Everybody’s talking but nobody’s listening. Twitter isn’t such a great broadcasting channel because of this anymore. You’d be surprised how few extra views or purchases having 1k or even 10k followers will get you. Yet, that doesn’t mean Twitter is irrelevant these days.

While I don’t find Twitter very useful for promoting my own stuff, I have found engaging with others very fruitful on Twitter. Twitter is how I met the awesome Jake Darby of Nomadic Hustle as well as an awesome graphic designer in Matt Lawrence (reach out to him if you want an awesome design at an awesome price).

I’ve already hung out with Matt in Saigon, and there’s a good chance I’ll be filming some vlogs with Jake later this year. I’ve also chatted with Peter Lievels (founder of nomadlist), Dan Norris, and Robert Koch (the blogger behind 30daystox).

If you want to get the most out of Twitter, you’ve got to understand you won’t be able to do so via endless self-promotion. In 2017 Twitter is a place to easily connect with other high level people, and build relationships that’ll enrich both your personal and business life.

If you view Twitter through this lens, it’s far from irrelevant. In fact, it just may be the best social network out there today.

4 Reasons Kuala Lumpur is Good For Border Runs

I’ve already done a post on whether KL is a good destination for digital nomads. The short answer — KL isn’t super exciting, but it’s an inexpensive city and a great place to focus on getting work done (click here for the longer answer).

That post was one of my most popular posts the last several months. You seemed to have gotten a lot of value out of it. For that reason, I thought you might enjoy me dishing out a bit more information to you on KL. While KL may not be the best destination for many nomads, it’s a great place for border runs or a weekend getaway. Here’s why.

#1 Cost of Living

Kuala Lumpur is very inexpensive. Budget hotel rooms can be found for just $10-$20/night. Food is cheap as well. The Malaysian and Indian food in KL is among the cheapest I’ve seen in Asia. Presumably the Chinese food in KL is cheap as well. I can’t comment with as much authority on that, however, as I’m not into Chinese food much.

Regardless, a couple dollars will easily satiate your hunger regardless of which culture’s food you like best. You could easily live a decent lifestyle in KL under $1000/month. It’s a bit more expensive than Saigon or Chiang Mai, but not much. While you’ll spend a bit more each day here on a short trip because of increased accommodation costs, this $1000/month figure should give you a good idea of how affordable KL is.

#2 Airport

KL is an awesome hub for flights. Kuala Lumpur is well connected to lots of the other top cities in Asia. Whether you’d like to go to Bangkok, Saigon, or Bali, you’ll find KL often has some of the most competitive prices on international flights. I’ve also found it’s typically cheaper to fly to the US from Kuala Lumpur than Saigon or Bangkok.

These cheap flights, however, make KL an awesome border run destination because they get you the stamps you need for your passport at a surprisingly affordable cost.

#3 Few Awesome Tourist Attractions

Kuala Lumpur has some really cool tourist attractions. The Petronas Towers, and Batu Caves for example, are two of the coolest sights Southeast Asia has to offer. Beyond that, however, my experience of KL suggests that it’s a fairly uneventful place to live. Perhaps that would change if you really established roots there.

From what I’ve seen, however, you’ll likely get bored staying in KL for a few months. Instead of trying to make Kuala Lumpur your base city, I’d recommend using it as a place to visit for border runs or a short vacation.

KL petronas towers

#4 Ease of Entry/No Visa Fee

The final reason Kuala Lumpur is great for border runs or weekend getaways is that visiting Malaysia is easy. US citizens, along with most other nationalities don’t need visas to enter the country. There’s also no fee for visitor cards on entrance, or departure fees either. Getting through immigration shouldn’t cost you any money in most circumstances.

Many nationalities also receive permission to stay in Malaysia for 90 days upon entry. This offers you a lot of flexibility in how long you stay. You could plan to visit for the weekend, fall in love with KL, and extend your stay extremely easily.

Conclusion

There’s a lot to love about visiting KL on a border run. KL makes border runs inexpensive, convenient, flexible, and interesting. I can’t think of many other cities in Asia you can say the same for. If you’re planning to base yourself long-term out of Thailand, Vietnam, or any country in SEA really, do make a plan to visit KL for one of your border runs at some point.

Learning Efficiently & Becoming Mentally Strong

Often when we have opportunities in life we’ll say, “Awwww I should apply for this job but I’m not ready yet”. Or, “I should join this soccer team but I don’t think I’m good enough yet”. Or, “I should do X experience but I’m not ready”.

Visualize this. Someone is learning to ski. They go down the little hill again and again and again. At first the little hill is a bit scary, but they quickly become accustomed to it. Yet, they keep repeating this now easy task over and over again.

They’re intimidated by the challenge the big hill has waiting for them. They want to keep doing the little hill again and again to avoid the big hill. At the very least, they think repeatedly practicing the small hill will eventually make the bigger hill less scary.

This may work on some small level, but it’s important to recognize that repeating easy tasks has diminishing returns. While skiing down the little hill may continue to be fun, the pace at which you’re learning slows the longer you attempt the same task and expose yourself to the same repeating stimuli. This is an important realization, but one you probably don’t want to acknowledge.

We like doing things we’re good at. We don’t want to hear that the best way to improve is to do the things we’re not fully comfortable with. It means we have to face our fears.

It means doing things that may feel awkward or uncomfortable to us. We may have to change our perspective or attempt to expand our minds in ways that are mentally exhausting or frustrating.

Put simply, reaching your potential is impossible if you only repeat a small number of tasks you’re already comfortable with. Of course, there’s a balance too. If you stretch yourself too far you’ll learn inefficiently.

You shouldn’t be studying CSS if you don’t know basic HTML yet. If you’re learning English you shouldn’t study words like ‘Abolish’ or ‘Accumulation’ before you’re comfortable with more basic vocabulary like ‘fast’ or ‘smile’.

Inefficient learning is the best case scenario of this approach as well. More likely, you’ll just give up. You’ll claim learning to code or learning English “just wasn’t for me”.  Dangerous.

The best way to learn things, and the best way to expand your comfort zone is to do something one step or level beyond your current abilities.

If you’ve become comfortable with HTML, learn CSS. If traveling across the country doesn’t feel challenging to you, travel to another country. When giving a speech to 10 people stops being scary, give a presentation to 20 people.

Do the things that challenge you. Do the things that scare you. Before long, they’ll cease to be challenging or scary. Your abilities and comfort zone will have expanded. When this happens, you’ll know it’s time to move on to life’s next challenge for you 🙂

Hilarious Nightmare Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Hey guys, today’s videos is one of my favorites I’ve ever recorded. The video doesn’t dive deep into incredible mental frameworks. It doesn’t offer any crazy facts you’d never heard of before. This video is quite comical, however. Let me explain.

Last month I stayed in a hotel in central KL for only $14/night… including breakfast. While this sounded cheap, these prices aren’t unheard of by any means for a well traveled nomad in Southeast Asia. I’ve stayed in solid places in Vietnam for under $10/night.

Unfortunately, Hotel Pudu 88, the hotel I stayed at in May was far from solid. If you’ve slept in budget accommodation before you know what to expect: A small room, poor view, older facilities, that kind of stuff.

Hotel Pudu 88 was legendary in my books, however, for being so ridiculously bad. In addition to the typical cheap room stuff I mentioned above, Hotel Pudu 88 had many other surprises waiting for me as well.

For two nights I enjoyed the luxury of mold on the ceiling, a sticky door handle, feeling itchy in bed (who knows why), flat pillows, mirrors that had toothpaste on them from the last guest, and the list goes on and on. The staff even refused to let me borrow one of their power adapters to charge my phone (I was forced to purchase the adapter from them).

Let’s continue. I got two more juicy details you’re going to love. The free breakfast we were promised? Bread. To their credit, however, a toaster, peanut butter, and sugary jam were available to go with that bread.

The whole breakfast area was depressing. The other people wouldn’t make eye contact with you. It was as if everyone was in a state of disbelief all their hopes and dreams had amounted to residing in this bottom of the barrel accommodation. Despite laughing as I write this post, I’m only exaggerating this story slightly.

My favorite part of the whole ordeal, however, was when I asked to get some toilet paper from reception. Now, when we got to the hotel they left us half a roll of toilet paper in our room.

This may be sufficient for one person staying overnight, but we’re a couple staying two nights. I was staying with my girlfriend and I just can’t see how two people needing one more roll of toilet paper during that stay is in any way unreasonable.

I ask the front desk guy if we can have a roll of toilet paper and he says and I quote, “Take one.” And there was some preeeety heavy emphasis on the one. Man, I thought I was frugal.

Anyway, is there much of a point to this story? I don’t know. This place was even dirtier than the $6/night hotel I stayed in that asked not so jokingly if I wanted a lady with my room. I guess the biggest thing would be to see just how bad budget accommodation can be in Southeast Asia.

I get that many of you are newer digital nomads that simply can’t afford to drop $50-$100 a night on a baller place to stay in during your travels. I get it, me too. However, understand that sometimes there can be a big difference between $6/night and $12/night or $120/month for an apartment and $200/month.

For an extra few dollars per night, you can get a lot more comfort that’ll allow you to easily focus on doing the most important thing — generating income. If $5/night extra is a significant hit to your budget… it’s time to focus on making more money. Don’t live like an animal.

Don’t get stuck in the phase where you’re bragging about how cheap everything is abroad forever. Appreciating the lower prices in foreign countries is just the first level of expat and digital nomad living.

Enjoy it, but then get grinding. A better ideal, is to be making enough money that you’re far more proud to talk about the income you’re bringing in than the cheap street food and rock bottom accommodation you’re staying in.

Is Kuala Lumpur a Good Destination for Digital Nomads?

If you ask most digital nomads where they recommend living in South East Asia they’ll probably answer your question with one of the “Big 3” nomad hubs. They’ll suggest you live in Saigon, Chiang Mai, or Bali. Yet, while these digital nomad hubs are popular for a reason, it’s important to recognize that many other options exist as well.

One of those options is Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur is a solid choice for digital nomads for several reasons. For one the cost of living is very low. Airbnb apartments are extremely affordable as are the hotels. We’re talking $350-$450/month for a solid place on Airbnb.

Stay longer or find a place on the ground and you’ve got a good shot at finding an even better deal. Food is cheap as well. Budget meals at restaurants can be found for $1-3/each. Yet, cost of living isn’t the only reason to live in Kuala Lumpur.

KL also has several coworking spaces. In fact, a quick search on coworker.com will give you 30+ possible places to work from. While you can’t expect to find the same number of digital nomads at these spaces as the ones in Chiang Mai or Saigon, there are nomads here. Plus, they’ll be more excited to connect with you as finding others living the location independent lifestyle is more of a rarity in Kuala Lumpur.

A really nice bonus of being a digital nomad in Kuala Lumpur is that it’s extremely cheap to get flights into and out of KL. Getting to a place like Bali or Koh Lanta can be expensive for someone that’s bootstrapping with an extremely limited budget.

Even with all of these benefits, however, KL isn’t an ideal digital nomad base in my eyes. It has some nice tourist attractions like the Petronas Towers or Batu Caves, but overall KL feels a bit boring to me. Does that mean I was hanging out in the wrong places or not meeting the right people? Perhaps.

I’d venture you’d probably grow bored of the city too if you stayed a week or more though. There’s just not the chaos of Saigon or the awesome leisure activities Bali or Chiang Mai have.

Conclusion

Kuala Lumpur is worth a visit as a tourist. It can also be great for visa runs (we’ll discuss this in a future post). KL has cheap food and booking accomodation for 1-3 months on airbnb isn’t difficult or overly expensive. The city is a bit boring, however.

My recommendation for other digital nomads? Don’t base yourself in KL for too long. Unless of course, you want to stay in a boring city for a while to limit distractions and make it easier to focus on work.