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Erik from The Mastermind Within is a go-getter.
A young guy who is REALLY getting after it.
At the age of 17, despite the fact that he was naturally talented when it came to school and sports, he realized that he wasn’t reaching his full potential.
So he decided to do something about it.
He intentionally started to expose himself to different subjects and ideas that were out of his wheelhouse.
And an amazing thing happened — he began to experience rapid growth!
In college, he became interested in building wealth at a young age and reaching financial independence. He started reading blogs like Financial Samurai and developing various wealth building strategies to help him reach his goals.
By the age of 25, he’d increased his salary to over $100,000 and used house hacking and a 50% savings rate to build his net worth to over $165,000.
Erik has a passion for growth. He’s not satisfied with where he’s at. There’s a level of healthy discontent which drives him to be better.
He’s on a quest to find the BEST way to do life, whether that’s in his relationships, his blog, or his health.
And this week on Band of Bloggers we get to benefit from his passion for learning and the knowledge that he’s accumulated in his 20 some odd years. He brings a passion and single-minded approach to growth that we would all do well to emulate!
Enjoy this week as Erik from The Mastermind Within shares his wisdom with us!
What is a quote(s) that you live your life by or that you find yourself repeating to yourself?
There are three quotes I live by:
- “Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development because success is something you attract by the person you become.” – Jim Rohn
- “What gets measured, gets managed.” – Peter Drucker
- “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton
What’s one of the best or more worthwhile investments you’ve made (money, time, energy, etc.)?
Reading books about self-improvement and actually applying what I learned has been very beneficial.
My favorite quote is “Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development because success is something you attract by the person you become.”
What this quote means to me is that if you want to be successful, then it’s critical to work on yourself so that you can become the person who would be able to achieve that success.
When I first read this quote, I said to myself, “Okay, Erik, you are 24. You want success, and since you want success, you need to become better.” That’s when I started my blog, and also started reading a ton of books to widen my perspective on the world around me.
From November 2016 to July 2017, I hit the books hard. I ended up reading about 40 in many different genres: some self-improvement, some entrepreneurship, some personal finance, some novels, etc.
In addition to reading many of these books, as I mentioned, I started The Mastermind Within, which would help me work on my writing and communication skills.
Along the way, from reading and blogging, I learned about the power of consistent daily disciplines. Doing a little bit, pushing a little more, and becoming a little better each and every day will compound over time and lead you to wild success.
RELATED: CHECK OUT THE BOOK The Compound Effect
18 months later, my writing has improved drastically, I’ve started a money and business podcast now to further my development in communication, and I’m moving towards my goal of creating an income stream outside of my 9 to 5.
Me (in red!)
I LOVE that quote by Jim Rohn!!
And I love how Erik unpacked what it means to him.
Too often people sit around grumbling and complaining about how other people are getting more breaks or are experiencing greater levels of success and satisfaction in their lives.
This kind of thinking can lead to a victim mentality, where they end up blaming people or “the system” for their inability to reach their dreams.
And while the system may indeed be flawed, this quote takes the power away from the system and places it squarely back in the hands of each individual.
If you want success, it’s not going to find you if you’re sitting on the couch watching T.V. Success finds those who do the things that successful people do.
If you want a crazy successful blog, you need to write and write a lot. You need to read and read a lot. And you need to think and think a lot.
Not only that, but you need patience as you develop the characteristics that will eventually make you successful.
It’s a bit like an iceberg.
Just like most of an iceberg is submerged, most people who are “overnight successes” were 5-10 years (at least) in the making. The hard work, disappointment, and daily grinding to get better and grow that eventually lead them to success often goes unnoticed by almost everyone.
All the casual observer sees is what’s above the surface, the part that people would call “success”.
But without all the work that went unnoticed, that success would never have been possible.
Erik gets this, and he’s working his butt off to put himself in a position to find success.
And by many people’s definition, he already has.
Which is better? A goal that is smaller and you achieve it, or one that is too big and you don’t? Why?
What I’ve learned is it is good to have both… BUT, the small goals are more important.
At the beginning of last year, I set a goal to read 75 books in 2017. I burnt out half way and finished the year with about 45 books completed.
75 divided by 12 is roughly 7 a month.
By setting a monthly goal, or even a weekly goal, I could have probably stayed motivated, as well as a more consistent. Reading 7 books a month, while ambitious, would have been more manageable to chew.
This year, I’ve set structured my goals into monthly goals. I have long-term “hopes and dreams”, but these aren’t necessarily my goals.
I’ve noticed since I have these hopes and dreams; my brain has gone to work to think about how I can reach them someday.
One last thing to mention on goals: make them action based, not result based.
Some of my goals this year are to post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week on my blog, perform 10 guest posts (this being one of them!), perform 5 podcast interviews, working out 3 times a week – all of these goals are action based on my part; if I fail, then it’s all on me.
Stretchy SMART Goals
O.k., seriously? This guy is 26 and he’s dropping wisdom bombs like this already?
Erik hits the nail on the head about having both large and small goals.
I was recently reading Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg and he was talking about the paradox of goal setting.
For years, there have been two schools of thought when it comes to setting goals: those who advocate for SMART goals, and those who push Stretch goals
SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
These goals are typically more realistic in nature primarily because of the combination of being specific and achievable.
Stretch goals, on the other hand, are not realistic. They are BHAGs, or big, hairy, audacious, goals, as originally laid out by Jim Collins in Built to Last.
These are the types of goals that people laugh at when they hear. They are long-term, 10-30 year goals, that are clear, compelling and out of this world…literally.
JFK’s goal to put a man on the moon is a great example of how the compelling nature of a Stretch goal can catalyze an entire nation in the pursuit of a common shared vision of the future.
But Stretch goals that aren’t SMART leave people feeling like hopeless failures.
In order to actually put a man on the moon, the Stretch goal wasn’t enough. Smaller, SMART goals needed to be set.
As these goals were achieved, they stacked on top of each other one after the other until the larger, AUDACIOUS dream of putting a man on the moon, was realized.
Erik understands this intuitively, which is why when he sets goals, they’re both Stretchy and SMART.
What advice would you give to a smart, industrious, newbie blogger as they start out?
There are a few pieces of advice I can provide here:
#1: Make sure to research and install the right plug-ins up front. Also, think about some basic things, such as URL structure, categories, etc.
For plug-ins, I’d recommend looking at Yoast SEO, as well as W3 Cache, WP Smush, Pretty Link Lite, Askimet, Google Analytics by Yoast, and Sassy Social Share, to name a few.
Having a URL structure that is simple, and something not like 123/4/421.html is good, and won’t require you to have to worry long term.
Write anything that comes to mind.
Get in the habit of writing. Shoot for 1,000 words an article to start.
After a while, writing 1,000 words becomes easy. I can write 1,000 words in an hour now and have it be pretty coherent.
Figure out how often you want to post.
Starting out, I’d recommend once a week. If you think that’s easy, try 2 times a week. If you really want to push the envelope, 3-4 times a week is fun, but also a lot of work.
#3 Join a community of bloggers (forums, masterminds, Facebook groups, etc.)
Networking is INCREDIBLY important in all areas of life. It’s no different in blogging.
For example, why have I been able to grow The Mastermind Within? ONLY because of the fact that I went to FinCon last October, attended some local meet-ups, and met people in the blogging community.
Sitting behind your computer can be lonely, but people love to talk and interact.
Also, people love to talk about themselves and their success! Go out and find people in your niche, and then ask them how to become a better blogger, or ask them about anything!
After you start to meet more people, guest posting has been huge for me and my blog.
#4: Ask for people’s email addresses
Do not be ashamed of having a pop-up or some sort of toolbar. If you want to build a following, then ask for emails! I’d recommend Mailchimp starting out (it’s free).
#5: Don’t worry about monetization AT ALL. Focus on your writing.
I’ve been blogging for 16 months, and I’ve made $300. This was something I wanted to make money with… and I’ve failed if I look at it only from a financial perspective.
But now that I’ve gotten to this point, I’m now at a place where I’m confident and comfortable placing ads on my site, and I also better understand what my readers are looking for. April 2018 was my first month of $100 in revenue, and I’m excited to see where it goes from here.
There’s a lot to unpack here, so I’m not going to try to hit everything.
A few things stand out though.
First, I totally agree with the networking piece.
If you’ve read any of Band of Bloggers you know that finding a community of like-minded bloggers has been mentioned TONS as being CRITICAL to not only your success as a blogger, but just to the overall enjoyment you get from it.
One of the best for me has been on Twitter.
I’ve built my following from 0 to several thousand in the first year of my blog and have gotten to know many amazing and generous bloggers.
I’d also check out the Rockstar Finance Forums. Here you get a chance to interact a bit more with many of the folks you see on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, and you can ask questions of some of the best in the business.
Paying for Blog Communities
Also, in my first year blogging I’ve bought exactly two courses to help me out: Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing and Billionaire Blog Club.
Along with killer content, both of these courses included access to private communities as part of the deal. Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing has an AWESOME Facebook group and Billionaire Blog Club has a KILLER Slack group.
I’ve asked TONS of questions in both of these communities. Not only that, but I’ve had bloggers share my content, gotten members to give me feedback on what I could be doing to improve and been able to use my contacts to join many group boards on Pinterest and get my game there rolling.
It’s basically my own personal live Google, where I ask questions and get to talk to real people about the answers.
And I’ve had personal interactions with both creators of the courses, Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and Paul (Scrivs) Scrivens (not something you can say about all private groups).
For me, these two groups have provided INCREDIBLE value and community.
Whatever you decide to do, be sure that joining a community of like-minded high-flyers is at the top of your list of priorities if you want to get your blog humming!!
What common advice should they ignore?
There are a few things which I thought I needed to do, and really after 16 months of blogging, I’ve realized they weren’t important at all.
#1: You don’t need to be on every social media channel.
Try one and see if you like it. If you do, then keep at it. If you don’t, then move on to another one.
There are only so many hours in a day, and trying to be on every single social media channel is daunting to start.
#2: Comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle or end will only lead to frustration
When you start doing anything in life, you start Googling things like, “how do I become better at X”.
For blogging, you might start to stumble upon some blogging income and traffic reports, where these bloggers are making $$$ and getting tons and tons of traffic.
Here’s the thing: maybe they have been doing this for years. Maybe this is their 10th blog! Maybe, they are lying and just trying to sell you their course!
Focus in on what is important to you: your story, your message, and your readers. Give and you shall receive. You’ll get there.
Totally agree with point #1.
When you start blogging, it really is overwhelming trying to wrap your head around all the things you need to do.
These “Start a blog in 15 minutes” posts are ridiculous.
You can start a blog in 15 minutes. As in, you can buy a domain and set up your hosting and be “live” with a free stock theme in 15 minutes.
But your blog will look like garbage. It will.
There are literally THOUSANDS of things you need to do in order to ROCK your blog. And promoting on social media is a BIG part of that.
You’ll hear that you should be growing your Twitter following, doing Facebook ads, and developing Pinterest strategies to get the traffic flowing to your site.
And that’s just scratching the surface.
Dig a little deeper and you’ll hear about Reddit, Quora, and TONS of others.
It’s all a little overwhelming.
How to focus on a few Social Media Platforms
To start, focus on one or two social media platforms.
Twitter is simple to set up and very easy to use. I’ve found that it’s great for building community and interacting with other bloggers, but doesn’t drive as much traffic as Pinterest.
Pinterest, though, requires a much bigger investment of time (and money for that matter) in order to get it rolling. To really drive traffic, you’ll need to set up campaigns and schedulers on BoardBooster or Tailwind.
And it really helps to have a course like Billionaire Blog Club hold your hand and walk you through exactly how to do it.
And I’m still growing my Facebook presence. I haven’t invested much in ads on Facebook but it’s something I’m considering down the road.
Whatever you land on, don’t fall into the trap of being a jack of all trades and a master of none.
Focus on one or two and ROLL with them.
Bringing It All Together With The Mastermind Within
I have to say I’m super impressed with Erik.
For a young guy, heck for an old guy, he brings SCADS of wisdom and insight to the table.
This isn’t by accident.
He’s made a concerted effort to learn and grow both as a blogger, and a human being.
You can see it in the wisdom that oozes from his responses. He’s someone who has reflected on his life and what he wants and set goals to get there.
More than that, though, he’s set into MOTION a plan to achieve his goals.
It’s because of the time he’s taken to reflect on what he wants out of life, and the plan that he’s developed, that he WILL be a success.
In fact, he already is.
I’m excited to see what else he learns and shares with us as he moves closer to reaching his goals.
BIO: Erik runs the blog and podcast The Mastermind Within. On his site, he shares tips and strategies to unlock your full potential in the areas of personal finance, self-improvement, and entrepreneurship. He loves to help others and uses his site as an outlet for this passion.
How have you used Stretchy SMART goals to achieve success? Add to the conversation in the comments below or on Twitter @method_money or my Facebook page Method To Your Money. You can also find me on Pinterest. Want more great ideas for mastering your money? Sign up to receive my weekly emails detailing how to keep more of your hard earned cash!