Thoughts on Brexit

Here's an email I sent on Saturday about Brexit to people on the Screw Work list (see box at the bottom to join us).

~

I couldn't let the weekend go by without sharing some thoughts on the UK voting to leave the EU.

I tend to lean towards collaboration and working together and so was in favour of staying. (I also took note of the vast majority of economists saying that leaving would hurt the UK). Like many, I was shocked by the result.

However, while some remain voters are criticising those who wanted to leave (and casting them all as racists who just want to kick immigrants out) I do kind of understand why so many voted that way.

The fact is that many people in the UK outside of London have seen their quality of life drop over recent years. The rich have got richer and the poor (and many middle class in fact) have got poorer. When that goes too far it's not good for anyone in the long term. So this result is partly a protest vote.

I hope that whoever takes over now heeds that and does something about it.

I believe the best thing to do now is accept the result (even if you disagree) and think about how to make the best of it.

My dream is to see a new leader take the UK into the future by supporting our great talents for creativity, innovation and invention. Someone that supports self-employment, entrepreneurship, technology and startups - and yet does not throw away all protection for ordinary working people in the process.

Who knows, this shocking result might even turn out to be wise in decades to come. There are rocky times ahead around the world - financial upheaval, the likely collapse of the Euro, political extremism, and mass unemployment caused by technology - perhaps we can be more nimble to respond without the restrictions of an extra layer of government.

Even if you voted to stay (as I did) I believe the best thing we can do is to listen to the vast majority of England and Wales who voted to leave and try to understand and respond to their concerns even if you think they were misinformed.

One thing is clear to me. There has never been a better time to take control of your own working life and your income. When everything is in flux and jobs are at risk, if you can at least start to explore options to make a living without a job, you will be in a far better position.

And whenever there is great upheaval there is also great opportunity for those who are ready to respond. Just watch.

~
What do you think? I'm interested in your opinion wherever you might be in the world...
All the best,

John

First Name * Email *

Three things about recent technology advancements that might just give you sleepless nights

Have you noticed recently that there are some pretty remarkable technological advancements being made? I know I have.

I've been learning recently from some leading experts who say that this is just the start of some huge shifts in the way we live and work. And the pace is accelerating.

Let me show you three things to illustrate what's happening and what it's going to mean for you and I...

 

ONE: Science fiction is coming true

Robot SophiaJust in the last few months on the SWLP Facebook page I've been posting news of cars that drive themselves, lifelike robots that can detect your emotions and respond in kind, remarkable Augmented Reality headsets, and even a safe, portable Jet Pack.

Tesla just announced that their cars' Autosteer, Auto Lane Change and Autopark functions have been approved in every country in the world (except Japan where it is under review).

Meta 2Google's self-driving cars have now logged over a million miles of autonomous driving.

There has only been one accident caused by the Google car - when it hit a bus at 2mph after it made an incorrect assumption that the bus would slow down for it.

Google implemented 3,500 new tests to prevent the error happening again.

Elon Musk has suggested that not too long from now driving a car will be illegal because autonomous vehicles are so much safer.

So why are so many amazing developments being announced now? That brings me to my 2nd point...

 

TWO: Where we are now

You are here:

Edge1-600x427

As you might know if you're into technology, overall processing power in any bit of technology doubles about every 2 years and has done so since the 1970s (this is know as Moore's law).

Imagine anything that computers find a bit difficult now (eg recognising speech, recognising human faces or emotions) getting twice as easy. Then twice as easy again and again and so on.

What this means is that in 10 years your iPhone will be 32 times better at everything it does and in 20 years, 1024 times better - creating whole worlds in front of your eyes, understanding your speech and facial expression, making sense of everything you've ever done on it and preempting what you ask of it.

Except of course we won't be using iPhones. We'll probably be using some form of Augmented Reality.

Atlas robotAnd this is just a warmup.

A $1000 computer can now match the power of a mouse brain and we're on track to achieve something at a similar price that matches the power of a human brain by 2025 – just 9 years away.

(Read this incredible post on WaitButWhy for a summary of where AI is right now and what's about to happen.)

This is why Oxford University is predicting 47% of occupations in the US will be automated within less than 20 years.

So what's the future for humans?

 

THREE: The role for you and me

New technology will bring some wonderful advantages - real-time translation across languages, safer vehicles, increased access to space travel & research, cheap solar energy, new cures for diseases.

However I feel we are ill-prepared for the scale of change coming our way. What happens when autonomous cars are the same price as normal cars? The CEO of Uber has already said that if Elon Musk's Tesla made 500,000 autonomous cars he would buy them all, effectively making all Uber drivers unemployed immediately.

There are 3.5 million truckers in the US alone. Imagine 100% of cab drivers and truck drivers losing their jobs over the course of a few years.

And these are relatively simple jobs. AI (along with outsourcing) will impact increasingly skilled jobs.

I write in the introduction to my book that the key skill that separates you from a robot right now is the ability to come up with an idea and make it happen:

"If you don’t know how to make ideas happen there’s a danger you’ll end up the minimum wage employee of someone who does."

Nowhere is this more starkly illustrated than in Amazon's Mechanical Turk.

mechanical_turk

This is a marketplace for small tasks of work paid at very low rates - things that computers currently find very hard to do but humans find easy. For example, audio transcription, categorising the colour of a shoe in a photo, searching a small piece of an aerial photo for a crashed plane.

Amazon calls it "Artificial Artificial Intelligence" - humans doing the grunt work that computers don't like to do and getting paid one or two cents for each quick task. And it's a service popular with startups who want to pseudo-automate such tasks at the lowest possible price.

Amazon turk task

Right now there are 350,000 tasks available to do and about 500,000 workers taking tasks on. And the way that tasks are paid bypasses any minimum wage regulation.

Tesla autopilotWhile there are some wonderful benefits to new technology, I have plenty of concerns about its impact. One is the widening gap between rich and poor and another is how people will respond to large-scale changes that happen quickly. An example being the loss of a whole sector of jobs.

History shows that humans do not always react well when faced with hardship and uncertainty. Right now, it's partly low-skilled workers who have already lost jobs to globalisation that are voting for Trump's vague promises of 'making America great again' which come peppered with racism.

 

So what's my point in all this? It's partly just an instinct to share the 'Holy crap, have you seen this?' reaction I am having lately. And to encourage you to invest time in understanding what's happening and how it will impact your life and your work (and your children's lives).

I post more regularly about these things on twitter and Facebook so do follow me there for more of this kind of stuff.

And of course, I believe you should do everything you can to take control of your own career and learn the skill of coming up with creative ideas and making them happen. Because robots can't do that. Yet.

~

This is taken from my weekly Thursday Three newsletter. Enter your email below to receive it in your inbox.

John

 

First Name * Email *
 
 
 

Announcing something new

Launch!Today I'm announcing something new.

It's called LAUNCH! Inside Track and it's all about how to create something super-successful and market it in radically new ways to make it a smash hit - whether that thing is a book, a product, a service, an app, or your own coaching/therapy/freelance/consultancy career.

And you're going to learn all that while looking over my shoulder as I work through my own biggest creative & marketing project of the last 6 years - the launch of my long-awaited 2nd book.

To get all the details sent to you straight away, just enter your info below.

First Name * Email *

How to text a billion people about your idea PLUS… an inspiring book

Ever had a good idea you wanted the world to know about, John?

What would it be like to be able to send a text message to a billion people across the planet to tell them about it?

Well that's exactly what author and activist Chris Ward managed to do this year.

Chris is former creative director of Comic Relief, author of two books on the joys of working from coffee shops, and creator of the much shared London coffee stops tube map.

This year he has been working with Richard Curtis to publicise the United Nations' Global Goals to end extreme poverty, fight inequality & injustice, and fix climate change.

That's when he hit on the idea to text as many people on the planet as possible to raise awareness of the goals. Because the more people know about them, the more governments pay attention to them and invest in them.


I spoke to Chris this week and he told me his top tip for making an idea happen is this:

"Always think bigger than everyone else"

That's because there's actually less competition at that level!

It's also actually more enticing to say to the mobile networks operators, "Do you want to be part of the biggest media platform on earth?" than it is to approach them to do something smaller and less exciting.

The result of Chris' thinking big?

925 million people texted about the Global Goals... and counting.



A holiday gift to inspire you
to your own big challenge in 2016
(and contribute to a good cause at the same time)

Many of us were shocked by scenes of the refugee crisis this year. Chris was one of them and he decided to do something to help.

Chris quickly pulled together a book of 44 stories of people who took on a challenge in 2015 in order to inspire you to take on your own challenge in 2016.

It's called:

#LIFECHANGER – They did it so you can too

And 100% of profits from the book go to The Guardian & Observer Charity Appeal for Refugees.


The stories span cycling around the world, to starting a coffee shop, to Chris' own adventure to write a book in 2 weeks. Everyone at some point on their adventures benefited from the kindness and generosity of strangers so it's a great match for supporting refugees.

The book is out today. Buy it for yourself and get inspired for 2016, or gift it to a friend...


Buy the book on Kindle from Amazon now

#LifeChanger book

 

“How much did they pay you to give up on your dreams?”

Here's something I posted to the Screw Work Let's Play Facebook page recently that got shared more than anything else in many weeks. It's a short but brilliant clip of George Clooney from the movie Up In The Air.

George's character, Ryan Bingham, makes a living telling people they're being made redundant. It's a tough job but sometimes he manages to make a very profound point during the process – like in this particular clip:

 

Join the conversation

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

How would you like to be a Digital Nomad?

I've spent all this month in Bali, having some time off, giving some talks, and connecting with the Digital Nomad community - a global movement of people who have designed their life to be location independent.

It's never been easier to create a business you can run from a laptop anywhere in the world. And a lot of people choose to do that in Bali. That's because it has hot weather year-round, a fascinating culture, beautiful beaches and scenery, and warm friendly people.

As a result, a number of initiatives have appeared in Bali to support Digital Nomads. One of the most important of those is the Hubud co-working space and Tribe Wanted, a programme for people to meet others and learn from each other as they work on their business.

I gave a talk for Tribe Wanted and asked Laura Thomas to explain a bit about it. Check out the video below:

Is this your dream lifestyle?

What's your perfect lifestyle? Would you like to be able live anywhere you want while doing what you love and getting paid for it?

Leave a comment and let me know. And if you have questions about Bali and being a Digital Nomad here, post them here and I'll take a shot at answering them.

Meet me in Bali at the Screw Work Digital Nomad meetup

A new way of working that became practical only a few years ago has now become an entire movement.

I'm talking about the Digital Nomad movement - a growing horde of people deliberately setting up their worklife so that they can live anywhere in the world.

When I first spent a month working from Bali just 4 years ago there were relatively few people living and working remotely. Now there are entrepreneurial retreats, Digital Nomad workspaces, and even online Digital Nomad directories.

Tribe Wanted Bali


There are no set rules about what being a nomad means - move to a foreign country permanently as a friend of mine did to run his app development business from Chiang Mai in Thailand, trip from country to country every few months, or my version of Nomad-lite where I spend much of my time in London but take a couple of months each year in Asia to escape the British weather.

Last month I ran a private-invite Marketing Intensive for just a handful of people and it was interesting to note that every one of the participants had a business that could be location independent.

In a few weeks I'll be travelling to Bali again to witness how it has become a Digital Nomad hub. I'll be meeting up with Roger Hamilton and I'll be dropping in to give talks at the entrepreneurial retreat Project Getaway and the co-working adventure that Tribewanted Bali have named "Silicon Rice Paddy".

Project Getaway Bali

 

The Bali Digital Nomad Meetup

The centre of the Bali Digital Nomad community is Ubud so I'll be spending my first 3 weeks there. And I've decided to get as many Screw Work fans and digital nomads together for an evening on the 12th October to meet each other, have a drink, and discuss our favourite topics of doing what you love, where you love.

If you're based in Bali, or you're going to be passing through, or can get there, do come along.

I've just set up an event on the Screw Work Facebook page. Click the image below to RSVP if you can come (or if you're a maybe):

RSVP for Bali meetup

 

And if you can't make it in October, see if there is a way you could spend time in one of the Digital Nomad hubs around the world and plug into a different way to live and work.

How to start a business in 60 minutes

HourglassIt's easy to imagine that starting a new income stream or business is a slow and laborious thing to do. However that does not have to be the case.

You can now set yourself up to promote something to the whole world in just an hour or so – whether it’s your skills, writing, photography, products, event, or music.

That’s because there is a huge range of online tools available to help you start your business faster than you ever imagined possible. And many of them are very affordable or even free.

It’s like a giant toybox just waiting for you to dive in!

No website yet? No traffic? No problem!

If you don’t yet have a website – or you have one but its total weekly visitors would all fit in a London cab – it’s easy to see this as a roadblock to getting started. But we're going to sidestep that entire issue by looking at how you can start your own thing without needing your own site with lots of traffic.

Imagine having a huge audience ready and eager to buy exactly what you can offer. Sound good? Well that’s what is available for you right now. Here’s the trick: instead of marketing yourself on your own site that attracts nothing but tumbleweeds, promote yourself on a third-party marketplace which people are visiting every minute of every day searching for what you’re providing.

There are marketplace and community sites for every possible kind of product, service or experience you can offer. Here are some examples.

Selling your skills as a freelancer

  • If your business idea revolves around skills you already have from your previous career (or that you’ve been developing on the side) you can promote them on a freelance marketplace today. Sites like Freelancer.com, PeoplePerHour.com and Elance.com make an ideal showcase for any skills you have in design, photography, translation, web development, social media, marketing and business support. You can post a profile and then search for projects needing help and submit proposals. Freelancer.com has 16 million users who have posted a total of 8 million projects so far so there’s no shortage of work but you’ll need to show that you have something of real value to bring to a project to win it.
  • For a more playful take on selling services check out fiverr.com. People registered on the site will record a movie trailer-style voiceover, draw a cartoon, design a logo, transcribe an interview, or sing a personalised ring tone for $5 and up. As the bargain basement of freelance marketplaces, Fiverr can be a fun place to experiment with charging for something you’ve only previously done as a hobby.
  • If you want to sell your services to other businesses (eg as a consultant or trainer) and you don’t have a website yet, just create a profile on LinkedIn so that you can give its address to people interested in your work. You can also invite others into your network, write blog posts within the site to share your expertise, and join groups to communicate with others in your field.

Running events

  • If you have an idea for a live event, meetup.com is designed exclusively for that very task and has 22 million users across 180 countries. That means there could be up to a million people searching Meetup.com for events on any one day. The site is ideal for launching a free or low-cost event for the general public and can even take ticket payments for you. There is enormous value in running an event that places a whole group of your target market in the same room with you, even if the event itself makes little money. You can build a community and get to know their concerns and desires, you’ll be seen as a leader in your field, and you’ll have opportunity to promote your work.
  • If you want to start really low key – for example just to get some people together who might be interested in getting involved with your business – just post an event on Facebook and invite all your contacts to RSVP.

Selling arts, crafts, and physical products

  • If you have handmade or vintage arts or crafts you can set up a store front on Etsy.com which handles an estimated US$1 billion in total annual transactions. Or, even easier, just try selling your first items on eBay. What’s great about eBay of course is that you can see how much people are willing to pay for your product in an auction. That’s an ideal way to test pricing. You can also search the site for completed auctions to see what similar products finally sold for.
  • Alternatively it’s possible for you now to get a product manufactured in China (using a supplier listed on Alibaba.com) and sell it on Amazon or another online marketplace.
  • At the opposite end of the scale you can have a lot of fun creating T-shirts, mugs, magnets, and cards with just a few clicks by uploading your design to a site like Cafepress or Zazzle. Visitors can buy your product off the site, and it is then printed and shipped to them.

Books

  • If you want to publish your own book, Amazon is without doubt the number one place to make it available, whether that’s a digital version on kindle or a printed version delivered by Amazon direct to your reader. Check out the Kindle Direct Publishing site to find out more.
  • For a printed version, check out Print On Demand services like Lulu.com or Blurb.com or print larger numbers using Amazon subsidiary Createspace.com


A simple principle to follow...

The principle we're using here is a simple one:

'Go where your buyers are' Click To Tweet

Why invest endless time and energy to get people to come to your own site before you can make any money when you can go somewhere with thousands or even millions of people interested in the things you offer?

What could your instant business be today?

Leave a comment to let me know your thoughts, questions, and experiences.

Whatever happened to book two?

I hope you're enjoying the summer*. I've loving London in the sunshine - the outdoor cafes, cycling around town, and the occasional cocktail with friends down by the Regent's Canal.

*If you're in the Southern Hemisphere I hope you're having a good winter 🙂

Photo of Towpath cafe - by David Oswald


Writing book 2 - word count

Update on book 2

I've organised my business to give me some space over the summer to finally finish my second book. Remember that thing?

Last year I got a very rough first draft complete but then got waylaid by launching and running the 30 Day Challenge with a couple of hundred people (amongst other things).

Now I'm back writing again and I'm loving it. Whenever I first return to writing there is always a painful reentry period where I have to load the entire book (its purpose, its key messages, its structure etc) back into my brain and decide where it is I am heading.

Now that's done I can enjoy the part that is enormously pleasurable for me - distilling my ideas into their clearest and most concise form and finding the best possible turn of phrase to describe them. When I do that I truly feel, "I am a writer". I'm also starting to get excited about the impact the ideas in the book will have on people that have never come across them before.

The early stages of writing a book are not so enjoyable. It's easy to forget that the first draft of anything will never be as good as your published work or anyone else's published work. So I came up with a phrase for myself - and which will also feature in the book:

Never compare your first draft to anyone's final draft (including your own)
[Just click here to tweet this]

That polished final version that delights yourself and the reader comes from multiple passes of revision and reworking; improving the structure, adding stories and quotes, and finessing the language. But you can't do any of that until you've written some kind of first, bad, draft. So another phrase came to me this week:

You must be willing to write a bad book in order to write a good one.
[Just click here to tweet this]

Of course, the same principle applies to starting a business - you must be willing to get started with the best bad idea you have until a better one crops up in the process.

Which reminds me of my favourite line from the film Argo when Ben Affleck's character and others in the CIA proposed an outlandish plan to rescue hostages from Iran by pretending to be filmmakers shooting a science fiction film:

Best bad idea

 

What's next for SWLP

For the last few years I've focussed on how to help people find an idea and take their first steps. Now, the player tribe has evolved. Many people are telling me they've now got started on something and need help on making it more successful. For the people still searching for an idea, I created Find Your Money-Maker, freeing me up to help people with the next stages of getting paid to do what you love.

Later this year I will be running a high-end Mentorship and a Mastermind programme for a very small number of people who have already started something and want my direct input on how to monetise it, market it and multiply the revenue from it.

I'll also be hanging out in Bali for the whole of October so if you're in that part of the world then let me know. I'll be meeting up with Roger Hamilton and dropping in on a very cool startup retreat called Project Getaway (more on that later).

And some time in 2016 I might just reinvent the 30 Day Challenge in a new form.

I'm going to be blogging more regularly now things are a little less hectic so watch out for more soon. Meanwhile, enjoy the sunshine!

Announcing Find Your Money-Maker

You might think I'd get tired after 5 years of Screw Work Let's Play but I have to admit I'm ridiculously excited about my news today.

My new programme FIND YOUR MONEY-MAKER is available right now at www.findyourmoneymaker.com at a rather crazy saving of 80%!

 

This is an exciting moment for me because it represents the pinnacle of my mission to help people get paid to do what they love.

To do that I'm taking a programme that formerly was only available for £600-£1200 and making it really accessible for everyone who wants to start doing what they love.

 

So if that's you check out all the details on the sexy new website:

 

Find Your Money-Maker

 

 

FIND YOUR MONEY MAKER MONTHGet the programme now you'll also get FREE acces to FIND YOUR MONEY-MAKER MONTH

Connect with others playing through the programme, share your progress, get encouragement from the SWLP team and ask me your questions in the Q&A session.

Check out the new website and let me know what you think!