Partnerships, Mentor/Mentee and Peer-to-Peer Information Marketing
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The next portion of this ezine is all about giving you my thoughts about ‘doing deals’ with other people. I hope it will help YOU to decide where and when to spend your time on various projects.
I’ve wasted a bunch of time over the years and here is what I’ve learned.
Let’s face it, we will all bend the rules for good friends. Forget whether or not this is sound business practice, it’s reality.
My suggestion? Keep your friends, friends. You can do the occassional deal with them but make sure you’ve got it in writing. If not, things can go very wrong.
I have lost more than one friendship as a result of a business deal gone bad (and some when it went really good).
Whatever your agreement, put it in writing. Let’s say that one of your friends that you’re doing a business deal with gets hit by a bus, then what? Do you think his/her heirs will feel the same way about the deal? Maybe, maybe not. Make sure that isn’t an issue.
I did a partnership deal not long ago with myself and two other people. As you can probably guess, the outcome was not positive.
It involved a software project.
When all was said and done I had a piece of software that was unusable and two people that I no longer speak with. Good deal? I think not.
Lessons learned? Many!
1. Always have a written agreement before any money changes hands. I trusted the other two parties but you still need to detail in writing what the deal is. Particularly what happens in the case of ‘divorce.’
2. Make sure that the parties your are involved with are both technically competent and have personalities that ‘fit’ your own.
3. Decide in advance what will happen if things don’t work out. This is basically your business PRENUP. This should be part of your contractual details.
4. If something doesn’t FEEL right, it’s probably wrong. Don’t do it!
If you do any coaching, listen up! I’ve learned a lot of lessons on what to do and what NOT to do. Please listen because it will save you a lot of aggravation.
1. Have a written agreement with you and your mentee.
2. Detail precisely how the relationship will work.
3. Explain how much contact will occur and who will initiate that contact.
4. Make sure that your contract has a NON refundable amount up front. This is because a lot of your work with people will be ‘front-loaded’ in terms of the amount of time needed.
5. Stick to a schedule and make sure that your mentee’s are required to give deposits when you book a time to work together.
MOST of the people you work with will be a pleasure to work with. A small percentage will be a bit more challenging. The items above are protecting you from the smaller percentage.
Whatever you do, don’t compromise. Always have an agreement with EVERY one of your coaching clients. A bit ODD, but 100% necessary.
Peer to Peer
Bob Bly is a peer of mine. I have also worked with Bob to ‘teach’ him my system of selling information products. He has listened and learned VERY well.
In a relationship like this one, when Bob and I produce a product we BOTH share the copyright to the product. This means that we can do whatever we want with the product and the other person can’t control our actions.
In the information products business, this is one DEAL that you can do. It’s most often the case with people who are at your same level of expertise or experience.
I elected to do this kind of deal with Bob because:
1) I respect him and his ethics
2) He is highly knowledgeable in his topics
3) I trust him 1000% percent
4) I like him
These characteristics would be desirable in anyone I’d work with, but particularly when it’s a peer to peer deal.
If you do deals like this, make sure you both understand the terms of the deal AND that you have it in writing.
I recently bumped into a guy at my local Starbucks in Vegas. After we chatted, he gave me his card. I sent him an email and we went back and forth a few times.
He wanted me to ‘get involved’ with his project. I told him that would love to be involved with the project and would be interested to hear what he thought would be fair terms.
I let him know that I could only be involved on a consulting basis and that I would not be doing any of the actual implementation of the ideas. He was looking for someone to help him in marketing a project. Since I do a LOT of marketing consulting work, seemed like a good match.
He got back to me and said we could proceed and that he would like to work with me. When I pressed him for terms of the deal, it did not involve any money up front.
All my compensation would come ‘on the back end.’ I refer to this as a SPEC deal. I will do them VERY infrequently. If you do too many of them, you’ll end up VERY broke.
When I emailed back that I had hit my quota of spec deals for the year and would only work if there was SOME money up front. I was willing to work at about half of my normal fee AND to take a piece of the action on the back end.
He didn’t bite. I didn’t hear from him. Next! Keep moving.
I got an email from someone the other day that started: ‘Even though I don’t always agree with you . . . ‘ I like that. I’d rather NOT have everyone agree with me. I will sometimes take unpopular positions because I believe in them but I don’t care.
As for what I recommend you do? Have a backbone. Say what you believe if it’s what you truly believe and stick to it. Don’t worry about what others might say or think.
As a former full time resident of New York City, I’m very psyched that Rudy is getting into the presidential race. It is highly likely I’ll even help campaign for the guy. Will there be many people I just offended by saying this? Probably, but I like him.
I’m a registered Libertarian, but he’s about as close as we’re going to get in the near future to a Libertarian who is actually capable of being elected.
My prediction: He WILL get the nomination, and if he does, he will win. You can laugh at me later if I’m wrong.
I think he’s doing it exactly right. You can go down to places like South Carolina and tell people: ‘Hey, you may not agree with me on everything, but you agree with me on most things, right? And, don’t you think I’m better than the alternative?’
As a president, you are considered WILDLY popular if you are getting 60% approval ratings. If I get a few more than half of the people on my list to agree with me I think I’m doing fairly well.
I think it’s more important to be respected than to be liked.
I recently agreed to speak to a chapter of the National Speakers Association on the condition that they send me a written letter of apology for something that had done to me a number of years earlier. I got the letter and that was that. Finished and forgotten.
Would I have agreed to speak to this group without this letter? No. Would I have lost a bunch of money because of this decision? You betcha.
Doesn’t matter. Principle trumps cash for me.
I’d rather make half as much as some people out there who are willing to make up stories and promise people the moon.
New Place in New York City
This next piece is PROOF that the information products business can help make YOUR dreams come true.
As I write this portion of this newsletter I’m a flight from LAX to JFK. When I get off the plane I’ll be headed to my new place on 34th Street in New York City.
For many years I dreamed about having a place in both a non-tax state (like Nevada) and New York CIty.
I really love NYC but can’t stand two things about it: TAXES and COLD WEATHER. So the plan was to spend winter months in Nevada and Summer months in New York City. I also intended to take a couple of months off in the heat of Summer to go to Europe.
Those plans have changed somewhat, but the desire to have a place in New York City has not. I’m super excited to move into my new place in Manhattan. I’ve even packed an aerobed, some sheets and everything else I’ll need to spend my first night in a TOTALLY empty apartment.
If you live in the general New York City area (and for me that includes from Boston all the way to DC) this will be great.
I plan to do MORE events right at my place in Manhattan. Specifically, I’ll be doing very small and intense events limited to no more than 6 people.
That’s about all we can fit into my new studio apartment!
People Want Different Things
It always amazes me to see how different people choose to spend their money. Most of you know that I’m one of the cheapest people on the planet. I HATE to spend money and love to make it.
That being said, there are still some things that I will drop a boatload of cash on.
I’m the guy who owns (although it’s not been used very much) a ‘swim against the current machine’ in my backyard in Vegas. This cost a LOT of money. I’m even embarrassed to say how much, but it’s a LOT.
I will also tell you that I haven’t used it that much which really pains me.
So, I spend money on exercise and exercise equipment. I also will drop lots of cash on education. If I want to learn it, I’ll spend money to go to the best teachers and have them show me how/what to do.
Example: I attend a number of years back a bootcamp with a guy named Ken Roberts, one of the country’s top commodity traders. I wanted to learn how to do it and Ken is THE guy. Also, a heck of a nice guy and a massively successful info-marketer. He’s at: www.KenRoberts.com. Highly recommended.
I also will spend money on travel. I work really hard when I’m working. I also take a lot of vacations. Why? Because I came to understand a principle that I’ve seen taught by a number of sources so I can’t tell you who came up with it first.
The idea is this: Opera singers and professional baseball pitchers would never think of performing every single night. Yet, there are business people who pride themselves on how MUCH they work.
They measure their prowess by the number of hours they put in. ABSURD. To be highly productive you need to be able to work hard and then recharge your batteries. Thus the need for frequent vacations.
I spend a fair amount on travel to relax. I do, however, always find a way to do a little business while I’m traveling. I usually do a Lunch With Fred at each place that I go.
So even though I think of myself as cheap, I’m really not (although others would differ with me). I just spend my money selectively.
As I was getting on the plane earlier I started chatting with a guy who I noticed was holding a winter coat from a designer named ZEGNA. My one favorite ‘traditional’ suit that I still own is by the same designer.
I remember seeing the suit on Madison Avenue for $2100 and then BUYING it downtown in NYC for $395 . . . SAME SUIT!
When it comes to clothes, I try to buy the best, but buy it on sale. I’ve found that you actually spend less money in the long run because your clothes don’t fall apart.
Other people spend their money very differently. I couldn’t justify having the place in New York unless it could at least pay for itself with the revenue it can generate each month.
There has recently been a lot of talk about producing products that are carbon neutral. The idea being that if you produce a product and use up valuable natural resources you need to make sure you PUT BACK an equivalent amount of resources.
I think Michael Dell subscribes to this philosophy.
I like to conduct many parts of my life in a REVENUE neutral fashion. If I’m doing to have a place in NYC or take a trip to an exotic locale, then I sure as heck should be able to recoup as much as I spend.
Most of my life and what look like indulgences are conducted in a revenue neutral fashion.
See you next time!
All the Best,