Back in 2013 no one had ever heard my name.
I was a complete nobody (and still am actually).
But a few people asked me how I pulled all of this off.
All of this?
Well, the stuff I'm doing.
Being invited to all sorts of events.
Showing up as a speaker.
Being placed in panel discussions.
The one thing that got my started was this thing right here.
And then I did all sorts of other things.
So here are all of the things I did that got me where I am today (wherever and whatever that might be):
# DO ONE THING NO ONE ELSE DOES.
To get you started you have to do something that seems almost impossible to most of us. Do something that's hard, really hard. That will help you set yourself apart. That will make people believe that you're serious and not just another wanna be.
This can be all sorts of stuff. Two years ago, It was writing a book. So I wrote a book. Back in the days that was still considered something not everybody else would do. At least not in Europe. But times have changed. Now everybody writes and self publishes books (even in Europe).
So now you need to find something else to set yourself apart. To stand out. Something no one else does because it's just too damn hard. Maybe a food truck. I don't know.
# ONCE YOU SHIPPED, SHIP SOME MORE.
Actually, while working on your first shipment of you product, idea or what not you already need to be working on your 2nd, 3rd and 4th shipment. You need to constantly be producing and creating things. Otherwise you might end up a one hit wonder.
You might end up being that guy that did that one song. That one guy that was milking this one song for years and years (or that book). And that one song was pushed so hard that no one even realized you put out 20 more songs.
That's why I started blogging in parallel to writing my first book..
Want more hands on advice?
I'll tell you all of my secrets on how to build your personal brand and how you can go from being a Nobody to being an Influencer. For FREE! You can join here: From Zero to Influencer
# INVITE YOURSELF TO THE PARTY.
If you want to get noticed you have to make yourself noticed. And the only way you make yourself noticed is by inviting yourself to the party.
No one knows that you might be the best party guest ever.
No one knows that you might be the world's best public speaker.
No one knows that you might be the world's best singer.
And that's why you need to invite yourself to the party over and over again.
And then be the world's best party guest, so that people will invite you to their party again..
# HIDE YOUR SIMILARITIES.
Don't try to be like everybody else. If you're trying to be like everybody else, you'll end up competing with everybody else. And competing with 7bn people out there might be really, really tough.
So tell your own story. Spread your own ideas.
Stop listening to what others tell you you should be doing. Because the things they tell you are the exact same things billions of other people are being told..
# ACCEPT EVERY INVITATION.
If someone invites you to speak at an event ask if they have a budget. In case they tell you they don't have a budget (and you know they don't), agree to show up if they're able to cover your expenses. Don't try to make money.
In case they tell you they don't have a budget (and you know it's not true), then don't show up. That means they don't value you as a person, your services or what you stand for. Don't sell yourself too low. Ever.
Unfortunately I did this many times. And it's hard to reverse it.
But be willing to help out wherever you can. Always.
# DON'T NETWORK. CONNECT PEOPLE.
I hate networking events. They make me feel uncomfortable. I don't care about chit chat. Waste of my time. I prefer a Skype call instead where I know the other person is at least trying to make an effort to get to know me. That's at least what I'm trying to do.
That's why I stopped going to networking events to “binge enlarge” my network and instead started introducing the people I already knew to each other..
# DON'T BE THAT ONE HIT WONDER.
Everybody can pull it off once. But people that are pulling it off many, many times are quite rare. Very rare. So be persistent and pull it off over and over again.
When you start off, they'll laugh about you (because you don't have a track record), then they talk shit about you and then all of a sudden they start being nice to you (or they ask how you did it).
All of this happened to me over the past few years.
That's why I publish at least 4 blog posts a week (even though nobody reads them).
That's why I keep writing and publishing e-books (even though none of them was a success).
That's why I'll soon launch my own podcast (even though no one will listen to it).
And that's why I keep showing up, keep giving talks and workshops (even though nobody really takes me serious)..
# DON'T BE AN EXPERT.
If you try to come across like an expert, you've already lost. Because then you're competing with real experts (btw what's an expert anyway)?
Then you'll be competing with people that have done this stuff for decades.
That have seen a lot more than you've seen.
That have a lot more contacts than you'll ever have.
So don't try to be one of them. Because that's a sure way of digging your own grave.
Instead befriend them. Do never try to compete with them.
Help them make more business, instead of destroying their business.
And then earn their respect. And then, maybe one day you'll take their spot. Or not. Who knows?
# DON'T ASK. GIVE.
A sure way of getting ignored by someone is to ask for something. Even worse, ask for another thing after you got the first thing. You have to realize (and I had to realize this as well) that when you start off, nobody cares about you.
Nobody cares about you as a person. Nobody cares about your ideas. Nobody cares about your vision.
When you start off nobody knows you. Nobody trusts you. You're a risky investment for everybody.
And the only way to decrease the risk of interacting with you (that's what it is) is to create value first. And the only way to create value for someone (and ultimately decrease their risk) is by giving first.
You can give all sorts of stuff. You can make an introduction to a potential business partner, a potential client, a potential spouse or whatever (but be as specific as possible as to what you suggest and why).
Or you can tell them about some ideas you had for their business..
# BE EVERYWHERE.
Simply having a blog, product or service and waiting for people to magically discover you won't work. Trust me I tried many times. It never worked.
You have to be everywhere.
Be it Medium, LinkedIn, Quora, Reddit, Amazon, Hackernews or what not. It doesn't matter. Just be there!
The other day someone said to me at an event I attended "Oh no, not this guy again."
Be that guy!
Don't be the "Sorry, who are you?" guy..
# SCREW WHAT OTHERS MIGHT THINK ABOUT YOU.
The moment you think that someone might laugh about you, think you've gone crazy or what not is the moment you've already lost. That's the moment where you shut down your prison cell once again, lock it and throw away the keys.
What you're trying to achieve is completely against what everybody else is trying to tell you. Against what everybody else is doing.
You're trying to leave the rat race. You're trying to do the thing nobody else has ever tried. The thing almost nobody was ever able to successfully pull off.
Of course people will try to make you go back into that prison. That prison they themselves have been trapped in for many years.
And the moment you successfully escape it means that they were all wrong. That their life was built on a lie. The lie that nobody will ever be able to escape that prison..
# BREAK YOUR FEAR.
I'm afraid of many things. I'm afraid of meeting new people. I'm afraid of getting back in touch with people I haven't talked to in a long time. And I'm afraid every time I hit the publish button. But I realized that the only way to get over my fear is to hit the publish button over and over again..
# SEND FLOWERS.
Be grateful for everybody that supports you.
That's why I personally write a small thank you tweet to everybody that tweets some of my content (even though the rest of my entire Twitter account is completely automated).
That's why I send flowers to every woman that invites me to an event where I get the chance to give a talk (in case you didn't get yours yet, I mostly do it at the end of the year). I haven't found an appropriate way to thank male organizers, yet.
I'm open to suggestions though..
# REINVENT YOURSELF (OVER AND OVER AGAIN).
The only way to stay relevant is to reinvent yourself over and over again.
That's another reason why I decided to start a podcast..
# COPY OTHERS.
Don't reinvent the wheel.
Take notes every time you read something that blows your mind. And then use it, adapt it and include it in your posts, talks or whatever.
That's why I launched yannsbookclub.com, where I publish the notes I took while reading all sorts of books. So I have a place for later reference..
# BE COMPLETELY HONEST
Honesty beats everything.
It beats experts, consultants and some of the most experienced CEOs. The power of honesty is more powerful than anything else out there. But be careful. It's power can also backfire.
It can destroy friendships, relationships and a lot of other things we hold so precious..
# DON'T LISTEN TO HATERS.
Haters are only there to get you down. That's their only purpose. So don't listen to them. Try to find the people that help you to get better. Not the people that only want to destroy you.
They will only suck the energy out of you and all of a sudden you realize that you spent the last 3 hours trying to explain your point of view. Waste.of.time!
# INSPIRE OTHERS.
Everything I do, I do it to make other people rethink their now. To inspire and motivate them to see things from a different perspective.
Because that's what you need to do if you want to sneak your way into people's heads.
You need to venture into the unknown and create a new path so that others can follow..
# GET OFF THAT COUCH
You need to expose yourself to opportunities over and over again.
A lot of successful people will tell you they were just lucky. To me that sounds like they were sitting on their sofa all day long and then all of a sudden it just happened.
Not true (unfortunately)! The truth that most of these successful people won't tell you is that they exposed themselves to opportunities and luck over and over again.
It's actually simple math.
The more you expose yourself to luck, the higher the probability to be lucky.
Simply sitting and waiting on that couch doesn't work.
You need to get out and start planting your seeds instead..
# DO IT TO PROVIDE VALUE.
Don't do it for the money. Money will only come in a few years. If you think it'll come in 1 year, it'll come in 3. If you think it'll come in 2 years, it'll come in 4. Or never. I don't know.
So if you do it because you think it'll pay your bills, you'll have to quit early. Because it won't pay the bills..
# BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.
Believe in yourself and what you're doing.
If you don't believe in what you're doing, nobody else will. Worse than that, people will feel that you don't believe in what you're doing. I don't know how people do it, but they sort of have a sixth sense for that.
And the only way to sneak your way into people's heads (or to build your personal brand) is to show them that you believe in yourself.
But how the hell do you show people that you believe in yourself?
Well, by doing all of the above.
It's that simply. But not easy..