Human Behaviour

I’m Outing Myself – The Positive Side

I’ve had more than a little problem putting this together – I intended letting this out on Saturday and I’ve had to put it back.

I knew it might be a bit difficult, and it has been.  I ended up writing a lot more than I intended to, and now I’ve put all that to one side and started again as I’m sure you don’t want to see something the size of War and Peace.  😉

I’ll get right to the heart of it.

In late 2002 (around about this time of the year), I was diagnosed with severe depression bought on by job related stress.

I know some people reading this will think that depression is just another way of saying you’re feeling a bit down.  And that’s exactly how I used to think of it until it was my turn.  😉

We all say it don’t we?  “I’m depressed…”

But feeling a bit down doesn’t even get anywhere near what depression is really all about.  And no, you can’t “shake yourself out of it” in much the same way that you can’t shake yourself out of any other life threatening illness, like cancer for example.  I know that one might be a hard one to swallow for some, but it’s true.

I sincerly hope depression never touches you.

Anyway.  I won’t bore you with the details, but I ended up being off work for two years and then finally leaving the company I was working for.  I later found out that at the time long term illness (due mainly to depression) within my business group was running at an incredible SIX percent – I think the industry standard is something like a quarter of a percent for ALL reasons.

The company had gone bad, and taken me (and a lot of other people) down with it.  I was in a bad way, and it’s left its mark on me.

So I left.  But I wasn’t idle for the two years I was off work.  You might say I was lucky enough to be able to spend that time researching and learning how to run my own business – under doctor’s orders I hasten to add.  Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) helps a LOT with depression.  For me it means “Keep yourself too busy to get any worse and hope you start to get better.”

Following that period, there were some rough times but we still did okay, and eventually I moved away from selling physical goods and into my first love of software.

And here I am today.

The depression *has* changed me.  I can’t say for good or bad, I’m just different.

I’m almost back to the fun loving and very sociable person I was over ten years ago, but it’s taken a long time to get here, and there have been ups and downs.  (I still have my grumpy days, but I don’t think I’m any different to most people in that respect.)

One of the changes now is I’m a VERY positive person, and I’ve also become a bit of a workaholic.  Although I still like to kick back and enjoy myself as a reward for my hard work.

The positive aspect of my nature is part of my defensive shield against future “issues” and it’s a good thing to have, but means I can’t and won’t tolerate any negativity or negative vibes from people.  My attitude is a little bit of “If you want to bring yourself down, that’s YOUR choice, now get out of my face.”  😉

It means that although I’m a much kinder more empathatic person, I will no longer “Put up with fools gladly.”  I now say if you want someone to blame for all your problems, go look in the mirror.

And that’s exactly how I lead my own life now.

If I have a problem, it’s my problem and I caused it.  Something I did, some choice I made means it happened.  And by accepting responsibility for everything in my life (the good things too) I don’t dwell on why things work out the way they do.  I already know it’s because of me and the effect I have on the world around me, even when it’s a bit unexpected.

And conversely, I no longer even try to accept responsibility for what other people do, and who then try to lay it at my door.  (I teach this to my children.)

They did “this”, then “this other thing” happened as a result, even if it was an accident or a freak occurrence – THEY made the initial decision, the responsibility is theirs.

“Don’t try to blame anyone else except yourself” has become a lifestyle for me.  And it’s both liberating and exhilarating.  🙂

So why the heck am I telling you all this for?

It’s important.  But this is already long enough, and so I’ll tell you in the next post.

Until then.

-Frank Haywood

Posted by Frank Haywood in Human Behaviour, internet business

The Importance Of Having Good Staff

I’m back.

Sorry, what was that?  You didn’t know I’d been away?  Good.  I’ve been ill for the last two and a bit weeks, and I’ve hardly been online, but now I’m back.  I’m glad to say that the business didn’t collapse while I was away.

I can see there are a few things to clean up, but mostly, everything continued to work.  I think.  I’ll know more over the next couple of days as I dig in.

Let’s see.

  • Most support tickets have been answered (still the odd one or two that need my attention but I’m working on it – thank you Ava).
  • Articles for my niche sites have continued to be written (thank you Ava).
  • PLR Code Mine has been looked after by James Cunnington, the lead developer (thank you James).
  • Work has carried on with software development for WordPress plugins at (thank you Edesa).
  • The new designer has been doing his thing and created 3 new sales pages for PLR Code Mine products and is about to start on some WordPress themes for a new business / pro-blogger WordPress themes site (thank you Ronald).
  • My low cost eCover Actions for Photoshop are almost complete.

Okay, not everything is perfect, but each mistake is a learning experience, and things get better.

I like general posts like this to also be a learning experience for everybody that reads them (thank YOU), so let’s take a look at the background behind all this.

Here’s the premise.

I can’t do everything and neither should you.  I have to rely on other people to do their thing, and so should you.

The downside is, as we take a back seat, and because we apply our personal touch to day to day matters less and less, then things aren’t done in the same way as you or I would do them.  It’s inevitable.  Some are done much better, some are not so good, but the important thing here is that we’re not doing them.

And if we’re not doing them, then it releases us to do other more important things like a bit of planning (aargh) and thinking (ook), and come up with a few new product ideas (aha).

And it also releases some time to come up with ideas for additional income streams, and to investigate and test to see if they work.

If we rely on other people to do the things we used to do, then we can spend more of our time on the really important things to any business.

Now don’t get the wrong end of the stick here, because I’m fairly sure I already know what you’re thinking.

“I can’t afford to take on staff just yet.”

Am I right?  Let’s assume so.  If that’s what you’re thinking, then you’ve got it all backwards.

The thinking for most new(ish) online business owners is that they personally are responsible for making all the money, but this thinking is false and is a leftover from having a job.  I used to think the exact same way, and I believe it’s fairly common.

But when you had a job (maybe you still do), then did the business you were working for operate in that way?  Of course not.

It just takes a little change in attitude and the way you think about your business to realise that it’s impossible for you to do everything.

I can positively say right now if I were starting all over again, the last thing I’d do is try to do it all myself, because that’s what I did, and it’s crazy!

We all have to relinquish control to other, trusted people.

Those people are then responsible for making the money for the business, and we’re the ones who oversee it all.  (Even that can be handed out to someone else if you want.)

So let’s look at the statement above about not being able to afford to do it.  Let’s pull it apart and show it for the nonsense it is, and that’s very easy to do.

Here’s the way you should look at it.

Everybody in your business earns their keep.  There are no passengers, and no free rides.  If you’re at an early stage in your business, then you simply can’t afford to be carrying administrative clutter.

One of my #1 rules (and I have several for different circumstances) is that every project pays for itself ASAP, and by that I mean within 30 days.  Hand in hand with that is that everybody either adds value to the business and is directly related to income, or they’re no longer a part of my business.

I don’t talk about this much, but in the last 12 months I’ve had to fire several people for either not performing, not doing what they said they would by the date they said they would, or not communicating with me about it.  Some have done more damage to my business and reputation than would have happened if I hadn’t taken them on, but the important point is things over all have become much better, and I’ve learned to spot the good staff very quickly, and reward them for jobs well done.

And one of the important lessons I’ve learned that I’d like to pass on to you is to take your time over hiring someone, but don’t waste any time in firing them.  (This idea of firing goes for customers too, but more on that another time.)

If you’ve made it clear what you want them to do, and they say they understand, and then don’t do what you expect of them, then they’re damaging your business and your personal livelihoood and they must go.

This isn’t being ruthless, it’s being focussed.

Either the people around you are helping to build your business or they’re against you.  This is black and white thinking and is not negotiable.  It might even upset some people, but look at it this way.

You can’t afford to hire two people, have one who is great and the other one fail to perform, because the bad one then wipes out the efforts of the good one.

All your staff must be good.  And once you have good staff around you, things really start to change.

(I believe I’ve written before about the importance of only thinking positive thoughts and only taking positive action and dismissing and ignoring all negativity, and this is a very good example of it.  If I haven’t published anything about this yet, then you can be sure I will.  There’s no point in giving negativity the time of day as focussing all your efforts and working towards your personal goals little by little is a key way to succeed.  Some people will unfortunately drain you and drain your business.  You don’t need them.  Most people are just like you and me, and are golden.  But all it takes is one or two jerks to bring you down and suck up all your time.  Most of the time, they don’t even see their own whining negativity.  Learn to ignore them – they won’t be around for long and they’ll become a problem for someone else who will listen.)

It’s an amazing feeling to find staff who are as good as you, and an incredible feeling when you find people who are actually better than you are.  I know that sounds a little egotistical, but from what friends have said to me, a lot of us think that we’re the only people who can do a job properly the way it should be done.  And of course that’s just not true is it?

There are plenty of people who can do any job better than you or I can, it’s just a matter of finding them, and hiring them at the right price.  And having the right staff will even allow you to automate important parts of your business.

If you want to know how I find my staff, and what I look for, then please leave a comment and if there’s enough interest, I’ll write about it here.

-Frank Haywood

Posted by Frank Haywood in automation, Human Behaviour, internet business, Product Ideas

I’m Not Overseas – You Are

Or… How To Alienate 30% Of Your Subscribers

I just received an email from a well known marketer (I’m on a LOT of mailing lists) that referred to me as an “overseas person”.

It struck me as disconnected and dumb.  We all do daft things every now and then, often when we don’t have our brains engaged, but this was just dumb, dumb, dumb.  One of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen any marketer do, and an extreme case of being parochial without realising it.

Because of course…

He’s overseas, not me.  I’m at the centre of civilisation here in the UK, while he lives in what used to be one of our colonies in a country that didn’t even exist as such a couple of hundred years ago.  So of course he’s the the one that’s overseas, not me.  Ahem.  🙄

Hmm…  Do you see how a simple but ill thought out comment can be misconstrued and instant defensive barriers put up?  I’ve now unsubscribed from his mailing list.

Here’s a simple tip as to how not to alienate or upset people.  Unless your mailing list is specifically about one of the following topics and people are actively interested in receiving information about them, you should never mention any of these.  I’ve unsubscribed from more than one mailing list because of it.

#1 – Sex.

#2 – Politics.

#3 – Religion.

I guarantee if you start talking about any of these taboo subjects, you will upset people.

For instance, you might criticise your government for their style, and instantly you’ve alienated about half your readers.  Or you may say that Jedi is the only true religion, and you thereby manage to upset a HUGE chunk of people.

Nobody wants to hear what you have to say on these subjects unless they’ve joined your mailing list just so they can find out.

And almost equally, I didn’t join that marketers mailing list just to hear myself pigeonholed as “overseas”.

-Frank Haywood

Posted by Frank Haywood in Human Behaviour, internet business, list building

It Never Fails To Amaze Me

Human behaviour – the amount of people who read something but don’t absorb the information that’s there in black and white and instead choose to apply their own take, often wrong.

What’s that all about?  What’s going on there?

I DO know that we all walk around with filters (prejudices) over our eyes and we see the world as we expect to see it based on those filters.  But why would anybody read something, forget or distort vital parts of it, make a decision based on that distortion, and then whine it isn’t what they thought it was?

Well no, of course it isn’t.

It’s quite often actually what it is, not what it was wanted to be.

Just the facts, just the truth.

If you already know what I’m talking about and see that behaviour in the people around you, you’ll now be smiling quietly to yourself (or shouting “YES!” at your monitor).  If you don’t, then watch the world closely and one day you WILL see exactly what I’m talking about.


-Frank Haywood

Posted by Frank Haywood in Human Behaviour