Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a motivational speaker who can speak about pursuing ambitious goals and thinking bigger at your next business event. Contact us to check availability. The full transcript of the above video is included below.
Full Video Transcript:
Hi, and welcome to another edition of Strategic Business Insights. Today we’re going to talk about thinking way bigger about your business. And it’s very, very interesting when you look at this sort of stuff, because most people make fairly low goals. They make simple goals, “realistic” goals. Very few people make massive goals.
And the reason is that people don’t like to fail. Nobody wants to feel like they failed, and so we instinctively make goals that we know we can probably achieve. They’re not that difficult. They’re not that crazy. They’re realistic. Because the odds are we’re going to actually achieve them and we can feel good about ourselves. Very few people set these incredibly massive goals because, what if they don’t achieve them?
Now, the irony is that with the smaller realistic goals, everybody does that, and so there’s tons of competition. There are tons of people who are shooting for these realistic goals. Meanwhile, the massive audacious goals, very few people make those sorts of goals, and so there’s actually very little competition to achieve these goals. So in other words, you get less competition. You almost have a better chance of success by shooting high than you do by shooting lower.
So I have a few stories here for you. Some of them are fantastic. I gave a course five years ago, and this guy who came to my course, his name was Howard. And he was a yoga instructor, this guy. Now, I’m not saying anything about yoga instructors, but I’ve met a few people who are yoga instructors and none of them were like rich or making a huge amount of money. I mean, they were happy, they were living their lives, some of them were doing slightly better than others, but for the most part it was a struggle for most of them. They weren’t making a huge amount of money. They were giving classes at the studio down the street.
Meanwhile, this guy Howard had like investment properties and he had—I mean, he was really doing well. And so after the class I spoke to him. I was like, “What in the world is this guy doing?” Now, it turns out that he wasn’t just teaching yoga, but he offered every year these big kind of luxury week-long retreats, yoga retreats, in like Sedona, Arizona and Hawaii and New Mexico. All over the place he was doing these retreats. And they were costly – 4000, 5000 dollars. And he was developing an audience, developing an email list, sending information out to those folks, and some people would sign up and spend thousands of dollars to go to these retreats with Howard learning the whole thing.
Now, I don’t know about you, but for me this completely—it’s a phrase that I use all the time—it expands the frame. It expands the frame. I was expecting a small frame. Yoga instructor – my previous life experience with yoga instructors was this frame, but in fact he was doing these retreats, and so my frame was blown out. This guy wasn’t just a yoga instructor. He was a guru. He was a thought leader. And I thought this was incredible.
And he had it featured all over his website. Imagine going to a website and seeing that right on the homepage. Immediately, your confidence level would go up because you would be like, “Wow, this isn’t just a yoga instructor. This person’s actually doing a lot of really neat stuff.”
So, about two years later I was giving another course, it was a marketing course, and this guy was in the class, and he had a place up in Napa—I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, so Napa is just up the road—and he was making wine jelly. Well, I’ve never had wine jelly, so if you’ve had it, I hear it’s good. But anyway, and on his website apparently he had products ranging in price from 4 dollars for a jar of jam all the way up to 26 dollars, which was like a bundle of a bunch of jams together, and he was trying to market his business better.
And so I thought immediately back to Howard and what he had done. So I said to this guy, “Look, what you ought to do is create like a three-day luxury retreat up in Napa where maybe on the first day you could have like a workshop teaching people how to make wine jelly in their own home, and maybe on the second day you could have a tour of a winery with all the fixings, and you could have three meals a day and every one of those meals could be paired with wine jelly one way or another. You should charge 4000 bucks for this thing, 3000 or 4000 dollars, and splash it all over your homepage on your website.”
It was the same idea. In the first case, his website, I just think of a retail shelf vendor and nothing more. He’s selling wine jelly just like probably hundreds or thousands of other people. But in the second case, now it’s totally different. Now it’s a parallel universe. Now it’s a hobby, it’s a different and new parallel existence full of romance and good food. Totally different frame. And the interesting thing is that no one else was doing that. So if you did something like that, you don’t have any competition.
Now, what he said is, “What if nobody buys it?” Who cares? Who cares if anybody buys it? What we’re trying to do is to set the frame on your website to have a big splash so that when people arrive at your website they’re thinking, “Gosh, this is really impressive. This is a guru. This is a thought leader. This is someone who’s really passionate about this subject.”
So if you do something like this and you offer some large offering right off the bat, don’t worry if anybody buys it originally, the first time around. Maybe it takes a couple of years to build this up. For example, my literary agent, guy’s name is Michael and he’s helped me with the books that I publish, there are hundreds of literary agents around the country, probably thousands, but what he and his wife did 10 years ago was they started the San Francisco Writers Conference. And the first year or two, hardly anybody came. But he started this conference, and guess what? He had no competition because nobody else was doing something like that. He thought bigger about his business. He thought, “Why can’t I do that?” And he started this conference 10 years ago. Well, this year, that conference was named the best writers’ conference in the country because it’s grown and grown and grown, and Michael is at the center of this thriving community of writers. And as a literary agent, he’s very successful. I’m very thrilled, I’m honored to have an opportunity to work with him.
Well, another friend of mine, her name is Stephanie, and Stephanie is a friend of Michael’s as well by the way, in fact myself and Stephanie have both spoken at the San Francisco Writers Conference, but Stephanie has a publishing company called Authority Publishing and she focuses on nonfiction books. She helps nonfiction authors. So a lot of business owners, self-employed service professionals who are writing books as a branding exercise in many cases, she publishes those books for them.
Well, two years ago, she started—and Michael knew about this by the way. They’re not competing because it’s a different niche. But she started the Nonfiction Writers Conference, which is a virtual conference. The entire thing takes place over teleconference lines. But she started it two years ago. Was it a blockbuster success the first year? No. She only had a few people sign up. But she did it again last year. She had about 100 people sign up. And she’s doing it again this year. She’s going to have about 300 people sign up. And when she started it, she had no competition.
And what you learn when you do this sort of stuff is you don’t have to ask anybody’s permission to do something huge in your business. Nobody’s going to try to stop you. Nobody is going to try to stop you. You can do whatever you want to do.
For myself, in 2007 I was studying on my desk and I wanted to speak at a conference, and I’d never spoken at a conference before. And so I went online and I did some searches and I found a conference, and I didn’t notice it at the beginning but this particular conference was taking place in Stockholm, Sweden. Keep in mind, I live in San Francisco, California. So it was far away. But I had already gone on the website and I had already clicked on “speakers” and clicked “submit a proposal.” So I was looking at this online form on the website right in front of me, and it was only at that point that I realized that this conference isn’t even local. It’s really far away. So I thought, “Gosh, I mean, should I fill this out?”
But I thought, “You know what, I’ll fill it out. Why not? I’ll fill it out.” And I filled it out and I sent it off, and this is a long story, it kind of went back and forth, but at the end of the day they picked me. They selected me as the speaker to go to Sweden. And I was scared to death, by the way. I mean, I was so nervous I don’t even have words to tell you how nervous I was.
But the point is that when I got there I was told that one of the reasons they picked me—listen to this—one of the reasons they picked me was because I’m an American from Silicon Valley, like seven million other people who live in the San Francisco Bay Area. There’s nothing special about being an American from Silicon Valley when you live in the San Francisco Bay Area. We all qualify. But in Sweden, that’s something special. That’s something special.
So I got credibility in Sweden for something that absolutely isn’t special at all here in America, and then I spoke in Sweden and I came back. And when I came back, I got more credibility at home because I spoke in Sweden. Do you see how that worked? I got credibility in both directions.
Now, when I submitted my proposal, I didn’t know this at the time but I found later, they didn’t have any other American speakers submit a proposal. I was the only one. And so they either wanted an American at the conference or they didn’t. I had no competition. I didn’t know it at the time.
Likewise, last year, 2012, I sent a bunch of marketing materials out to the Persian Gulf, GCC, the Middle East region, where all those oil-producing countries are, because I wanted to try and speak over there. And I was contacted by a guy who does conferences in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and Doha, Qatar and some of these countries that are so far away from America, and he hadn’t received information from anybody else. I had sent him information. He doesn’t get information from America. So I ended up going to Dubai last May and speaking at a conference. And it went very well, and I was then asked to come back and I spoke at another conference, also in Dubai, in January of this year just a few months ago.
The point is, you can do anything you want to do, and if you set your sights at the moon, you actually have less competition. So think about what you could do. And here’s a thought experiment that you can play with me here on the video or after the video. Take your income, whatever you make right now—and if you’re not working right now just think of the last job you had, whatever your salary was there—take that income and multiply it by 10 in your head. Take your income, multiply it by 10. So if it was 50,000 – 500,000.
What could you do to earn that income? I’m not talking about winning the lottery. I’m talking about thinking bigger about your business. Because I’ll tell you what, there are people in the world today that have the same skill set as you or maybe not even as good who are making that larger number. They’ve found a way to leverage your expertise, which is their expertise—let’s assume it’s the same. They’ve found a way to leverage their expertise better than you have, even if you’re already doing very well. Maybe you’re very successful already. Maybe you’re making 500,000 now. Multiply that times 10. [00:12:26] What could you make it five million? There’s somebody in the world today who has the same skill set as you who’s making five million a year instead of 500,000, or 500,000 versus 50,000, or whatever that number is for you.
So think way bigger. Find a way to leverage what you do, what you know, and think about something way bigger that you could do, something you could build. And I’ll tell you what, if you do, you may have no competition along the way.
At the end of the day, in your life, your career, you’ve got base hits and you’ve got homeruns. Most people spend their life going for base hits. Now, base hits win games. There’s nothing wrong with making small incremental progress in your life. But homeruns are fun and they’re exciting and everybody loves them. You know it and so do I.
Allocate some time. Maybe you’re super-busy. Maybe you have children. Maybe you work 40, 50 hours a week. You could be super-busy, but I bet you anything that you could allocate 15, 20 minutes, half an hour, tomorrow, today, to allocate towards that homerun strategy. Think of something way bigger than anything you’ve ever done before and just get the wheels in motion.
You don’t have to achieve the whole thing in one day, but do something at that larger level because it will do a whole bunch of things. Number one, it’s going to make you more excited. It’s going to put a sparkle in your eye and a spring in your step. It’s going to give you something to be more excited about. And people radiate their emotions, so if you’re excited, if you’re beaming in your life, the people in your life, the other people in your circle, they’re going to notice and they’re going to see it. And people are attracted to that energy. So if you do something like this, you’re going to find more people drawn to you.
And the third thing is that in time, with effort, it might just come true. It might just come true. And if it does, now you’ve got a whole different life than you would have if you stayed on the track you’re on.
So my challenge to you is to think bigger. Think about all the things you could do, a business 10 times, 100 times bigger than the one you have today. And if you don’t have one today, 10 times or 100 times bigger than the one you envision for yourself. Give that a try.
My name’s Patrick. Thanks so much for watching this video. Reminding you again to think bigger about your business, think bigger about yourself.
Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a keynote speaker who has spoken at business conferences in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.