Tim’s Book Club – Top Lessons from Entrepreneurs – 244

For entrepreneurs, almost every day presents a crossroads of one sort or another. Source your products in China or think outside the box and look at India or Pakistan? Take advantage of Fulfillment by Amazon, or use a third-party warehouse? Are you trying to find a way to instill a strong collaborative company culture or wondering if it’s a good idea to hire a family member? These decisions (and much more) have all been tackled before.

In this episode of the AM/PM Podcast, Tim Jordan takes it upon himself to talk about one way that entrepreneurs can learn from the experiences of those who have walked these same paths before. There’s a wealth of written content targeted towards entrepreneurs and businesses that not only answer questions, but also help create a sense of shared experience or community.

Today Tim takes us through five books that he feels cover issues that e-commerce sellers are going to face as they traverse the challenges that are central to the ecosystem. Tim’s choices also help illustrate the inherent difficulty of success and celebrate the feelings that entrepreneurs all know when everything goes just right. 

In episode 244 of the AM/PM Podcast, Tim discusses:

  • 04:40 – Tim’s Top Five Books for Entrepreneurs
  • 06:00 – The Hard Things About Hard Things
  • 07:35 – Being a Master of Your Own Psychology
  • 10:00 – Accepting Fault for Lousy Situations
  • 11:30 – Creating Strong Communication Channels
  • 12:40 – The Power of Full Engagement
  • 15:40 – Where’s Corporate America’s “Rest Phase?”
  • 17:30 – Coordinating Different Types of Energies  
  • 21:15 – Hiring People that Smile   
  • 24:45 – Never Eat Alone – A Steak Dinner Helps Build a Network
  • 27:30 – Real Networking Is About Making Others Successful
  • 29:00 – Invisibility Is More Deadly Than Failure  
  • 31:00 – Predictably Irrational  
  • 34:00 – Working on Relationships
  • 36:00 – The More We Have, the More We Want   

Enjoy this episode? Be sure to check out our previous episodes for even more content to propel you to Amazon FBA Seller success! And don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to our podcast.

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Transcript

Tim Jordan: When I look back at my short entrepreneurial journey, I can honestly say that most of the successes I’ve had were because I shut up, had some humility and learned from others. Those educations that I’ve received sometimes were from friends, mentors. And a lot of times it’s from mass media. It’s from the big influencers in the space. It’s from those folks that are really, really smart, and they can articulate the lessons, and the wisdom that they have and given to us in plain English. And in this episode, I’m going to be reviewing some of the biggest takeaways that I’ve ever received from those mentors, from those authors, from those people that are way smarter than I am in a way that I think is tangible to the majority of us, which are solo preneurs, e-commerce sellers and folks, just trying to keep our head above water and swim. I hope you guys like this episode. We’re going to get started in just a second.

Tim Jordan: Hi, I’m Tim Jordan, and in every corner of the world, entrepreneurship is growing. So join me as I explore the stories of successes and failures. Listen in as I chat with the risk takers, the adventurous and the entrepreneurial veterans, we all have a dream of living a life, fulfilling our passions, and we want a business that doesn’t make us punch a time clock, but instead runs around the clock in the AM and the PM. So get motivated, get inspired. You’re listening to the AM/PM Podcast.

Tim Jordan: Hey everybody and welcome to the AM/PM Podcast. I’m your host, Tim Jordan. And I’m going to make a confession to you. I am not a very good entrepreneur. I’m not. And I know it’s weird because I’m hosting this entrepreneurial podcast, but I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a good entrepreneur. Now, have I had some success? Sure. But it wasn’t because of my innate ability to figure things out all the time. It wasn’t always like this God given, born in me wisdom that feels like a lot of people have a lot more in abundance than I do. It’s because I’ve learned from others. And we, as humans, are living in an incredible day and age where there are so many forms of communication, so many ways to learn from others. And so many ways to glean wisdom from people on the other side of the world, or even that live 200 years before us. And it gives us a massive advantage. If we will open up our eyes, open up our ears and learn from others. I think that they say the definition of insanity is something about continuing to do the same thing over and over again when it doesn’t work, right. Something like that. And in my opinion, that’s true. Like I have felt insane from doing the same thing over and over again, even though it doesn’t work sometimes, but I think that it would be silly for us not to learn from the lessons of failures others have had, and potentially run down a path that would lead us to some small failures when we could just take the wisdom and the guidance from some folks that have just traveled a little further on the road or gotten a little further ahead of us than we are. And gave us some of that wisdom.

Tim Jordan: So in this episode, what we’re going to do is we’re going to be reviewing, I think, top of the five business books in the industry, specifically related to the type of industry that we’re in, right? E-commerce, solopreneurs, these small businesses. And the reason that I decided this episode is going to be important is because if you’ve been listening to episodes, probably past 10 or 15 episodes at the end, I always ask these really smart guests, “hey, if you could go to your bookshelf and pull one book off the shelf, and tell me why that is something that I should read and that all our listeners should read.” And a lot of times they absolutely love those questions. It’s like this relief, like, Oh my gosh, I’m dying to share this. I’m dying to share this. And when you look at your bookshelf, whether it’s your Kindle, electronic bookshelf or your physical bookshelf, or just the podcast list that you have, or any of those things, there’s just so much wisdom, but we don’t always have time to absorb all that. And sometimes we read stuff that this sucks or we listen to stuff that doesn’t apply to us. So, what I’ve been doing is I’ve been taking a sampling, not just from podcast guests recently, but from some friends and some mentors and some folks that even business partners and said, Hey, if I could sit down and do an episode, which I’m doing right now and share some of the top like lessons and some of the top takeaways with our guests, what would those be? And we came up with a list of five books and some key takeaways from those.

Tim Jordan: And in this episode, that’s what we’re going to. We’re going to discuss those. So, if you will bear with us this episode, I promise you, you’re going to find a lot of cool value in this. You’re going to find a lot of good lessons, and I’m going to be able to tell you how some of these things have maybe mirrored my journey or have affected my journey or bring to light some of the mistakes that I made by not following this advice, or having heard of it sooner. So, bear with us. It’s going to be, I think, a really good actionable episode, a lot of good content here, and let’s get started with book one.

Tim Jordan: All right. So the first book that I want to talk about is from Ben Horowitz, and it’s called The Hard Thing About Hard Things. This book was introduced to me from Ricardo Pero, he’s the CEO of Sellers Funding. And he said, Tim, you need to read this book. And it was really brought to my attention at a time when Sellers Funding, the business was going through a lot of growth, a lot of scaling, which also meant a lot of pressure and a lot of stress. And as I read it, I realized that this is something that is not pretty. Like the message in this book is not something that’s sweet and fluffy, and it’s not all inspiring. It’s the realization that business is freaking hard, right? It’s not easy. I love when we see like these digital marketers trying to sell you the laptop lifestyle and sell you this dream and all the pictures on their Instagram account, or have them sitting on a beach and, I don’t know, Tahiti somewhere, making it seem awesome. And all this flexibility and all this luxurious lifestyle, but with all of the businesses that I’ve either owned or been involved with, hasn’t been the case. And it’s easy to look at that persona of like what this owning a business thing should look like and think, man, I’m doing it wrong. I suck. But the truth is every successful business that I’ve ever seen went through. And especially the owners went through mountains and mountains of really, really hard times, whether it’s hard times financially, whether it’s hard times when key staff left. There are times when they had to get rid of key staff because they weren’t the right fit for the company. Even when it’s friends and family, times when competitors came in and really caused you a lot of stink, times when you had this great Amazon business running, maybe an Amazon shuts your listing down for no good reason, they shut your account down, into completely drawn up your cash flow. It’s really, really tough. And I think that understanding that business is hard is one of the first things we have to do when we own a business, right?

Tim Jordan: Because we go in expecting it to be warm and fluffy and nice and soft, and we’re going to set ourselves up for failure. In this book, he talks a lot about it, and he uses some really cool analogies, but he talks a lot about basically how we have to own this. Right? We have to understand that even though it’s hard, we have to master that because it being hard is what’s causing everybody else from doing it. Like that’s what sets us apart as business owners. That’s what puts us above the fray and puts us in that top percentile. Two key lessons from this book to get over these hard times and to, to make the tough decisions and do the tough cuts or the tough hires or the tough pivots. We have to be masters of our own psychology, right? We have to. He talks a little bit about the demons of being a CEO and a founder and how we can be our worst enemy. And a lot of people don’t talk about it, but that’s one of the toughest things that we as business owners have to learn, right? And this book he talks about and gives you advice that we can’t quit when the going gets tough. And that’s really, really hard to do. We have burnout, we have discouragement. We face these problems like, Oh crap. If this were meant to be, it would be easy, right? If this product were going to be a good one, it should launch itself. If this agency was, it was really a good idea. It would’ve gained customers. We wouldn’t have to do anything to really make it happen. Right. The thing is those hard times are what makes us valuable. Like when we’re in there in the trenches, like we’re building the knowledge, right? We’re learning the industry.

Tim Jordan: We’re learning about our competitors. We’re learning about the customers. We’re developing products that actually fit the application that we’re trying to make them fit in. And the longer that we gained that knowledge, by going through those tough times, the better our chances of success are, right. It’s like if we can stay in the arena long enough, like if we can survive this gladiator duel long enough, we will end up victorious. We will end up stronger because we’re gaining, not just the scars and the bruises, but also the small victories, which turned to big victories, which turns to strength and reputation and all those things. I see so many people, especially in the e-commerce space, give up too early. I was recently talking to a good friend of mine who mentioned she had pulled out of a product and she had a good friend of ours. Hey, you quit too early. And they had a disagreement. No, I pulled out when I should have. No, you quit through the lane. And you’re not saying she did or she didn’t, but I do think that a lot of times we pull out too quickly, I’ve done it. I’ve pulled out of projects that I’d worked on for a year because the going got tough. And I thought, Hey, if this were meant to be, it would be easy and walk away. And two years later looked back and realized, Oh my gosh, how was at that point where I was learning the hard lessons I needed to learn, and I threw away an entire year’s worth of investment because it wasn’t fluffy and it wasn’t sugarcoated. It wasn’t amazing. And it wasn’t easy. So I assumed it wasn’t meant to be right? If we can master our own psychology and understand those hard times as hard lessons, those valleys were just preparing us, were molding us, were making us wise and making us experience so we could handle the coming success. Like that’s a huge thing that we have to understand.

Tim Jordan: We have to embrace and we have to do it according to Ben Harwood’s book, right? The other big takeaway I got from the book is that we have to accept fault for something that sucks, right? If the company’s in a bad situation, we have to accept fault for that. I know that not everything bad happens is because of the owner of the CEO or the founder, but we still have to accept responsibility if we have to fire a key employee, right. And let’s say maybe that employee came in with a lot of experience. We have to realize that we’re firing them because we weren’t able to recognize that their talents and their skills didn’t fit the needs of the organization. We make great hires. They don’t work out. We have to fire them. We find great partners. We bring them in. And then the partnership falls apart. Like we have to own that. We have to realize, Hey, it’s not necessarily that they sucked. Maybe they were perfect, but maybe we didn’t put them in the right position to succeed. Maybe they weren’t ever a good fit for this company. Like it makes you think back when you’re trying to put together partnerships or employees or delegation, teams or whatever, like that’s a really big decision. And instead what happens is we as business owners, according to this book, often find fault with everybody else. We don’t own that. Well, I thought they’re going to be great, but they sucked. Right? The other thing that we have to do according to Ben is we have to make sure that we have really good communication channels. And I mean, I can tell you the companies that I see, most of them are not doing that. And we have to make sure everybody’s on the same page. We have to make sure that everybody has clarity, make sure that everybody knows the goals of the businesses, the failures of the business, make sure people know that we’re all working together and striving together as a team. Because if we’re not creating that communication, we’re not creating that community and that vibe and that sense of ownership for everybody. We are doing a disservice to the customers. We’re doing a service to the company. And then of course, we’re doing a disservice to ourselves and we have to own that, right? If things aren’t going well, it doesn’t matter who’s fault it is. We have to take responsibility. There are things that have happened in businesses. I’ve been a part of where the partnerships are employees or being an employee myself, whatever, where I’ve had to be sorry, I’m not saying apologetic. I’m not saying everything that bad has happened wasn’t necessarily something that I directly did, but I had to be sorry that it happened. I had to take some ownership, some responsibility, right? If I hired someone that stole from the company, is it my fault they stole from the company? Maybe not directly, but I still have to take ownership of the fact that they stole from the company. That I’m the one that put them in a position to allow them to do that. So two big things, we have to control our psychology and we have to accept fault and allow the situation because the buck stops with us, right? Everything goes to the top.

Tim Jordan: Another book, second book on my list, from Jim Lower and Tony Schwartz is the power of full engagement, managing energy, not time. And it’s the key to high performance and personal renewal. Oh my gosh, what a long title. I get a really long title, a really great book. So the main premise of this book is that we have to manage not just our time, but manage our energies. So Jim Lower was a trainer of some world-class athletes, right? Some of the best athletes in the world, what he realized was, is there’s a correlation between some of the top athletes and some of the best business producers, corporate athletes. I think he called them in the book. If you’re an athlete, you want to be stronger. You want to be faster. You want to be more skilled, but you don’t get better by spending more and more time on the field or more and more time in the gym or more and more time in the training facility, you have to recover. You have to rest. I was a football player, right? American football in high school. And I even had an opportunity to go to play in college, but I turned it down. And I know this is a very rudimentary example, but when I think back to like, what made us a good football team when I was in high school was we divided up our energy to do different things that sometimes didn’t always seem like it would directly affect our performance, but it did. So we would spend a lot of time doing exercise, whether it’s the weight room, whether it’s running, whether it’s doing cardio. We also had to spend a lot of time studying. We would go to the school theater. We’d spend a lot of time watching a film, watching videos of our competitors, watching films of ourselves from past games learning, right? So our body’s not getting energy, but our brain is learning.

Tim Jordan: We would spend a lot of time doing camaraderie stuff. Remember one Saturday, our football coach, when I was a senior, made us all go to a paintball field. We were in paintball guns. We run around playing paintball. It was a blast. It was a lot of fun. We were building like that team mentality that we had to do in an outside location, doing something different. That was just purely fun. And then I remember on game days, which was Friday night, we would, instead of practice, we would go into our gymnasium at school and they’d lay out the wrestling mats, like these big soft mats. They bring in a big projector and we’d watch a movie. We would all lay around on this wrestling mat and watch a movie or two movies for like three hours. And what we were doing is we were resting, we were relaxing. We were just spending time with each other, maybe so we weren’t getting in trouble. So we were in a controlled environment, but we were – we had lights out. It was dark. It was like rest. And as an athlete, you have to do that. Pro athletes spend a lot of time in the gym. They spend a lot of time in the classroom or not the classroom, but learning the actual fine skills of their games, right? Studying. They spend a lot of time having downtime. They spend a lot of time relaxing or partying and whatever it takes for them to have their relaxation and get their mind off of the game, so to speak. But that doesn’t really work in corporate America because see, in like corporate America or the entrepreneurial world, we are led to believe that we have to work, work, work, work, work, like we should never get our phones out of our faces. We should always be pushing harder. We should always be spending more hours. We should be up until 2AM. And if we’re not up at 2:00 AM getting ready for our next launch, we’re doing something wrong. And I think that’s wrong.

Tim Jordan: And that’s the whole premise of this book, or one of the premises of the book is that we have to balance that stuff out. If we’re not balancing our energies, we are actually going to hurt ourselves. Right. There’s also a premise in the book that we have certain variables every day and the energy that we use and the energy that we put out is variable. And that all comes back to this principle of like, self-management, we can manage our energy, right? Because there is flexibility. There are ways that we can create variables within our opportunities and this book point number one states that we excel when we’re focused on what we do and have strong boundaries between like work and renewal, right? There’s a huge emphasis on taking time to recover. If we’re an athlete and we spend 20 hours a day in the gym working out, we’re never going to recover. We’re never going to actually let our muscles get stronger and we’re going to fail. Right? We have to balance all of these things. The book also says that there’s kind of like four areas where our energy needs to be split between like four different paradigms. It’s physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional. And each of these is necessary, but not sufficient by themselves. Like we can’t have all of one and none of the other, so physical energy forms the foundation of all of these energies, emotional energies is how we feel about our performance. And it’s at its peak when we are. When we’re doing well, our emotional energy is the highest right? Mental energy is like the stored amount of concentration and focus. It’s the repository of concentration focus. And then spiritual energy connects our work with our core values and our purpose, right? So physical energy, it’s like the backbone. We have to have this. And this is, I hate to say it, but like exercise and good sleep and all that good stuff, emotional energy is brought on by doing well. Mental energy is like a repository of our concentration. It’s like setting time aside, getting some of those other things in balance that we can focus when we need to. And the spiritual energy is our why that’s like our core value, we use our reason for doing these things right. And it’s very important to take care of all four of these. And they all have to work in tandem. If we’re not physically in good shape, then our mental energy is going to be low. If our spiritual energy is low, then maybe our success rate is lower. And our emotional energy is going to fail from that. So four key areas, and that is kind of the premises of the power or a full engagement, managing energy, not time, but by Jim Lower and Tony Schwartz, check that one out.

Tim Jordan: All right. The third book is on company culture and it’s called Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passions, and Purpose by Tony. I think it’s Hsieh, Tony Hsieh. So this book is extremely interesting to us as e-commerce sellers because it’s by the founder of Zappos. This is important because this is actually an e-commerce brand. Zappos was eventually sold to Amazon, but it was an extremely successful e-commerce store that largely sold shoes. Right? So the lessons and the wisdom that he provides in this book are literally from an e-commerce seller. So it’s extremely, extremely relevant, extremely, extremely impactful. And it’s an exciting book, like a couple of books that I’ve talked about were a little bit stressful, like the hard thing about hard things, like it talks about how we have to own the things that suck. This other one, talking about like the four quadrants, the things that we have to do talking about productivity and like how we have to train our minds, do these things correctly, to get that powerful engagement. And that’s a lot of work. It’s not a lot of fun, but delivering happiness, a path to profits, passion and purpose is really really cool. Because it gets you excited. Like it gives you a little taste of what that success would be like from Tony, and how we can actually become happy by running a business. In the book, it’s like a really detailed version of the details of his path to entrepreneurship. And it’s divided into three sections. There’s profits. Next section is profits and passion. And the third section is profits, passion and purpose, and all three of these sections have like in-depth accounts of his various adventures up to the sales of Zappos, right? There’s two primary things that we can learn from Hsieh’s story about building this like exciting culture. The first one is to keep your employees fulfilled. Now I know we’re talking about Zappos. It’s a big company, but this can also include, I believe, business partners, because a lot of us in the e-commerce space, we’ll have a business partner without employees. I think that this includes VAs. I’ve talked about virtual assistance before. I think there’s a big problem where we consider VAs not as actually employees. Consider VAs as employees, consider family members because we entrepreneurs, whether our spouses, kids, parents, even though what we’re doing, they’re stuck in this with us because we can’t turn it off.

Tim Jordan: My wife still to this day has never listened to an episode of AM/PM Podcast. She has no clue, hardly what I do. I just sell stuff online. And I work with some other people. That’s all she knows, but I bring it home and my stress and my victories, she shares them. So we have to make sure that they’re fulfilled as well. Right. And if we get the culture right, with those around us, like our own culture and the culture that radiates shows around us, success will follow. So he talks about hiring and partnering with only the people who smiled right? Now, I realize that you’re cutting out a lot of potentially good candidates literally by this one kind of silly thing. Like only hiring the people that smile. But the point is we have to have people that are positive. We have to have people that are joyful to be around. We have to have people that have the glasses half full mentality, because there’s no bigger drain on a company than bad attitudes. There’s no bigger drain to motivation, to success, to enthusiasm, to hard work than people that are always doubly downers that are always like beating up kind of that core mentality of the company, right? We have to have those cultures, right? Their culture of happiness bled into the brand promise. So Zappos, if you remember their brand promise, their motto was delivering happiness. And they really focused on that culture, not just with their employees, but then also with their vendors and their agencies and their partners. And I would pressure you to say, make sure that you bring that to your families as well, like have an attitude of enthusiasm because there are going to be tough times. And we get through this a lot better because we as humans, love to be happy. Like we love joy. We love those people that are encouraging in our lives and we need to be an encouragement to others. Also, we have to clearly define our values and missions. I’ve talked about this before in some other contexts talking about like your why, but this is what he says. What’s really important to him? And his story of Zappos was the organization, your organization, his organization, doesn’t have to have clearly defined values and missions, unless you don’t want to have success, right? Like you have to have clearly defined values and missions to build that culture, to give their customers the experience they want to give your brand the recognition that it wants. Like you have to have this stuff defined. And if you go in, and underestimate the power of these values and these missions one for your brand, but also for yourself, and that can be different, right? I think that you’re going to lose focus and then everybody else loses focus too, because if you’re not all in the same team, like you’re all potentially scoring in different goals. Maybe for the other team, we have to be focused together.

Tim Jordan: The next book is called, Never Eat Alone and Other Secrets to Success; One Relationship at a Time. This is by Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz. This is one that is near and dear to my heart because believe it or not, I am not great at a lot of things in business that people that know me are like, we believe that Tim, we know, but one of the things that I’m exceptionally good at is networking and relationships. Not saying I’ve made mistakes, not saying there’s people I don’t get along with, but this has been one of my strongest suits. And it has helped me overcome a lot. Some of the things that have helped me overcome are not having a clue, what I’m doing in business, but with good relationships, I can call people that are smarter than me and they can walk me through something or encourage me, or talk me through it. If I don’t completely understand the way a product works. If I have good relationships with people that do, they can explain it. If I don’t have good product ideas, if I don’t have a good education, having those relationships allow me to lean on others and overcome some of my weaknesses. Now in my career, it’s given me an opportunity to use those relationships, to help build out other people, right, build up other businesses, build up other brands, help coach people, and how to teach people. And as I do that, I continue to get those blessings back 10 fold. Right. But it’s not always easy. I’ve told this story before. I’ll tell it again. But one of the first e-commerce conferences I ever went to was at an opera. It was at the Gaylord Orlando resort, like a big, big hotel resort in Orlando, Florida. And when I landed, I didn’t know a soul that was going to be there, but there was a private Facebook group for all of the attendees of the event. And basically what I did is I put a Facebook group in this private Facebook chat in this private Facebook group of posts. And I said, Hey, the first 10 people that respond to this and want to join me for dinner tonight, I’ll buy you a steak dinner. There’s a steakhouse downstairs in the hotel. And I think I had a reservation for like 12 and people started pinging, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, I’ll come, I’ll come. I’ll come. And I sat down at this table with a bunch of strangers who were all strangers with each other, and ended up making some folks. And I’m still friends with five years later. Some future business partners, other people that I have learned from other people that have gotten to learn from me. And it was incredible. Like putting myself out there really made a difference.

Tim Jordan: And that led me to really focus on building those relationships right. And never eat alone. As the book says, and what that’s done is it’s not only given me a lot of valuable experience. It’s not always, not only given me a lot of resources, but it’s allowing me to move up in this industry literally to the point where I’m speaking on the AM/PM Podcast. You guys remember the episode, I think it was one 95 where I talked about taking this podcast over from Manny Coats. I met him at a party. I literally invited a bunch of people to a party. He showed up. We have been good friends since then. And that’s how I’m in this position now where I get to talk to all you fun folks. So it really redefines the whole notion of how to network in a more authentic way. Like it talks about finding common ground with people that we meet randomly. And that’s important because I think a lot of people think networking and think business development is all about selling people and building up your Rolodex. But it’s not, it’s like an inner mindset. I think that we need to like, as this book says, have specific steps to like, reach out and connect with all of these potential colleagues, friends, associates, partners, in a way that is helpful to them, right? Not in a way that is just sucking the life from them. Not in a way that’s predatorial, not in a way that is just trying to draw things into ourselves. But if we actually build relationships, we’re helping them, we’re building them up. We take that humane approach to networking. It creates something that’s mutually beneficial, right? In this book, they also, the authors like outlined advice given by some of the world’s most connected individuals from Bill Clinton to the Dalai Lama, this book is just full of this great information. And it’s divided into four sections, the mindset of networking, the skill sets to network turning connections into compatriots and then trading up and giving back. And the two things to essentially remember about networking from this book. The two big takeaways that I see are real networking is about making other people successful.

Tim Jordan: It’s not about just collecting business cards. It’s not about stuffing your Rolodex. It’s about making other people successful. If you can do a favor for someone else, do it and don’t look back like don’t do it with criteria. Don’t do it with a return expectation. Just keep doing it. Like don’t keep score. Don’t keep a scorecard. Don’t say, well, I scratched your back. You have to scratch mine because relationships are not like finite things. They’re not something that you can keep a scoreboard on. If you do something to help someone else, they’re more likely to see value in you. They’re more likely to encourage the building relationships that you have. And then that becomes massively valuable to you. Right? It also emphasizes keeping in touch with our contacts and following up, not just pinging them when we need them. And there’s so many people like in my life that when I get a message from certain individuals on Facebook messenger, I know that there’s requests coming, Hey, Tim, I need you to do this for me. Do I do it? Yeah, usually. But how is your [inaudible] I love the messages from random people that are just like, Hey Tim, hope you’re doing great. What can I do for you? Man, if they’ll send me two or three of those a year, the one time I asked for something, I am bending over backwards to help them. And I’m trying to make that a habit myself, ping people, tell them I love them. Tell them I appreciate them. Tell them, I think they’re doing a great job that provides more value to them than they’re receiving from nearly anybody else. And I realized that like I’m in the service industry space, it’s a little different, but it doesn’t matter if you’re e-commerce seller. You’re probably in Facebook groups with 80,000 people jump in and help somebody out. Jump in and answer a question since I’m a message, Hey, I saw your message here.

Tim Jordan: Don’t be discouraged. I’ve been through the same thing. Hey, love what you’re doing. Keep it up, like build those relationships by providing valuables, right? And they also claim the invisibility is deadlier than failure. Never eating alone at like social events as a meal is a good way of getting to know people, right? But don’t schmooze them either. Like if you want to reach out to someone for a specific purpose, be genuine about it. Use social media get on LinkedIn, find other Amazon sellers, get on Twitter, follow influencers, get in Facebook groups like make meaningful connections, spark engagement, start building and curate a network of people who you can help with your interest and goals. And that’ll come back tenfold to you.. Also build connections in as many different areas as possible for Amazon sellers start working on some Shopify context, start working on some digital marketing context, start working on some logistics context, right? That stuff is really, really important. But if we’re not doing that, if we’re not putting ourselves out there a little bit, if we’re not trying a little bit, then we become invisible in our market. We become invisible to our peers. We become invisible to potential colleagues and suppliers and other motivating, influential people in our lives. And that invisibility is deadlier than actual failure because I can fail at a lot of little things, but I always have a system to back me up for the next thing. I can fail at certain projects and endeavors, but I have a system of people who want to jump in and help me take care of the next thing. Having that system helps me overcome those failures. But if I stay silent and I stay invisible in the industry, in the community, I’m not going to have that support system to jump back in and continue going.

Tim Jordan: All right. The fifth book that I think is super, super valuable, that was recommended to me for this episode. It talks about consumer behavior and it’s called Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely, I think is how you pronounce that, right? Ariely. So, the premise of Predictably Irrational is the fact that humans do some pretty dumb stuff. It doesn’t say that in the book, but we do some pretty dumb stuff. It’s completely irrational. It’s completely absurd. It has no logical basis behind these reasons for the things that we do, but it can be predictable. So Dan, the author, he’s like an MIT guy, right? And he does a lot of very, very curated social experimentation. And he starts tracking human behaviors. She starts tracking habits. It is kind of over my head. I’ll be honest with you and read this book. Like there are several pages I had to go back and read twice. What the crap is he talking about? But it’s so valuable to us because if we take the time to learn these few things and understand these nuances of the way that humans operate, we can create an opportunity for ourselves to set ourselves above the competition, to sell more, to create a better brand presence to have more power in the industry. All these things are massively important. So, as an example of what he talks about is like these irrational behaviors that we make this predictable Publix, the grocery store, all right, Kroger used to do it. I’m sure others do. Give away a free cookie. If I walk into the grocery store and I’ve spent $180 on groceries, my kids love the fact they get a free cookie. So we walk into a public supermarket. The first thing we do is we walk over to the deli and we get a free cookie. What did that cookie cost the company? 8 cents, 10 cents, 12 cents. Some ridiculous little things. But that cookie is the reason that we don’t go to Walmart to get our groceries, right? Publix is much more expensive than a Walmart and Walmart’s actually across the street, but we go to Publix and we probably spend $50 more for the same groceries, just because there was a free cookie, right? It’s not irrational, but what’s easy as it is predictable. They know that people come for those free cookies. So by understanding human psychology, we can do a lot of things that don’t make sense, but that helps us. It’s like pricing.

Tim Jordan: He talks a lot in the book about the way we price things. Free is not always free, right? Do we jump in and do stuff like for a free cookie? That’s rational. Sure. But also, we understand that a higher price oftentimes leads to higher perceived value in the Amazon space. I’ve sold stuff that was the same thing that everybody else was selling. And nobody else is selling at $12. And I set my price at 29 dollars. And humans because they’re irrationally paid for the 2,900 or one, just assuming like it makes our brains think this is a higher quality product. This is more giftable. This is better. When you actually look at the product it is made in the same factory, the same materials, the $12 one. And even though we’re irrational, it’s predictable. It’s crazy. And what’s happened is like companies and marketing firms and brands have literally poured billions of dollars into marketing and advertising to create this impression of social relationships. They try to create this ambiance of, we’re with you, we’re for you. We work together with you, like our brand is part of culture. Our brand is part of your family, right? But they’re working so much on the relationships they’re working on so much on the emotion they’re working so much on. Like what’s rational that they forget yet that humans are irrational. They forget that people not only compare things, but they also compare things that are just easily comparable. Right? One example he gives is like hotels. Go to Europe. He’s got an example. I think France in Italy or Rome in Paris, we’ll say, and both these hotels were listed with free breakfast, like come to this hotel in France for free breakfast. Come to it in Rome, Italy and there’s free breakfast. But to really make people understand the power of that free, what they do have to do is they actually have to list an option without free breakfast.

Tim Jordan: So, here’s a seventy-five dollars a night hotel in Rome. Here’s a hundred dollars a night hotel room in Rome with free breakfast and it’s a hundred dollars. And the Paris room is 85 with free breakfast. And people we’re pulled through this massive MIT experiment said, Hey, the Rome deal is better. But why? Like it’s the same hotel, same brand, same Marriott, the hundred dollar deal with breakfast better than like the hotel room with breakfast in Paris. Sorry. Just because we set this basis without breakfast and roams, they say, Oh, it’s $25, but this is a better deal. Right? Only $25 for two breakfasts. It’s crazy. The way that psychology works, we are irrational. So we can’t continue to just trust what traditional marketing and traditional thinking have said based on the white people, because they’re not rational, right? We can’t just lean on like what these marketing agencies or what like best practices say about emotionally tying to a customer and all that stuff’s important, but it doesn’t mean that it works because it’s not rational. He finishes out the book by basically saying the more we have, the more we want. And this is essentially like the suggested cure to breaking the cycle of relativity, right. To break the cycle, people can control what goes on around them. The focus on smaller circles can boost relative happiness as can changing the focus from narrowed abroad. And what he’s talking about is we don’t have to be the winner, everything. We don’t have to be the best. We don’t have to create the best value in our entire niche, or entire brand or entire industry. We just have to stay in these small circles and create a little bit more value than another guy. And that boosts relative influence, relative value. Not because it’s logical, but because we are irrational, right, we are irrational. But when you figure out the patterns, you can pick apart these patterns and you can spin things in a way that nobody else is doing and create tremendous business opportunities.

Tim Jordan: Just like I talked about selling a $30 item, that should be a $12. Giving away something free when you’re actually making them pay more in the long run for everything. Like we are irrational. So again, this book was tough for me. I know a lot of folks are smarter than me. They’re probably listening to this. You’ll absorb it faster, but it was worth reading through twice because it made me start to question what I thought was industry standards. It made me start to question what are listing standards? What are product development standards? Because even though it makes sense, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to work. And even if it doesn’t make sense on paper, it doesn’t mean that it won’t work because oftentimes it does. So those are the five books. I challenge you to go check these out. And in the past episodes of AM/PM, we’ve talked a lot about other books. We’ve had a lot of recommendations from other people. These are the five that a lot of people that I trust and respect have sent to me recently. And I would definitely suggest checking out ASAP because they’re so different. And they’re so unique from a lot of mainstream teachings and they are so pertinent to entrepreneurs and small businesses, even if it’s not something that’s like a warm, fuzzy feel-good message, right.

Tim Jordan: So, make sure to check these out, make sure to check out the recommendations at the back of other episodes. And if you found any value in this episode, thank you. Sorry. I couldn’t bring in an amazing guest on this one. I wanted to by request to get some of these recommendations out there, make sure to leave us a review of this podcast on any of the platforms that you’re listening to make sure if you’re watching this on YouTube, give us a thumbs up and give us a like, give us a share if you would. And we’ll see you guys on the next episode.