what is a mastermind group

How To Start or Find A TRUE Business Mastermind Group

If you haven’t heard about mastermind groups, you will soon if you consume advice from millionaires. So I thought it’s useful to tell you the truth about mastermind groups, the good and bad, so you’re prepared.

What is a mastermind?

A mastermind is a concept developed by Napoleon Hill, a man who spent 20 years studying 500 of the wealthiest people in the world at close range.

Mr. Hill went on to write a few books about wealth, including Think and Grow Rich, which went on to sell over 15 million copies and make thousands of people into millionaires.

A mastermind might help you get wealthy. Or even more wealthy, successful, and fulfilled, if you already are rich.

Let’s get to it:

I’ll tell you what’s NOT a mastermind:

It’s not when a group of people each pay a $10,000 monthly fee to one person so that this person can meet up once a month and coach these people, while mostly letting the participants help each other.

That’s called a coaching business.

Yet, this seems to be the general idea of what a “mastermind group call” is for a lot of online businesses: people paying a monthly fee ($1,000 or $10,000 or $100 per month) for help.

It’s epidemic in the internet marketing world.

And maybe you’re not in that world, but it also seems to be true for a lot of niches that use the internet: let’s say, just as an example, you have a blog on making wooden sculptures. If you look for help on how to make your blog better, and you go deep enough online, you will find advice.. eventually from people in the internet marketing world. And what happens is the wood-making niche now starts up their own masterminds.

I have stumbled across numerous people in the online marketing world, some of which were good, some bad, some veterans, and some fairly new in the market.

It seems to be a rather re-occurring theme with many of them to have this “Mastermind.”

And some people make a very good income off of it.

In fact, some of the people in the “wealth creation”, “abundance”, or “millionaire” niches online, also have this skewed idea of a mastermind.

However, I don’t think that’s a real mastermind according to how the great Napoleon Hill would describe one.

A real mastermind is one where no one is paying a cent to anyone else. This removes any pressure or distorted feelings, perceptions, or dynamics of the situation.

A mastermind is supposed to be a collaborative effort where successful people come together to help each other. It’s something where your peers can cover your weaknesses.

Here’s an excerpt from Napoleon Hill illustrating this concept with one of the wealthiest people in the history of mankind, Andrew Carnegie, someone he studied closely for decades:

mastermind group

A Mastermind Group is not to be confused with a paid, monthly coaching call that has stolen the name “Mastermind.”

It’s clear as to why they do so: they want to use Napoleon Hill’s good name to get more people to buy into the concept of a mastermind in order to make more money. Even though they won’t admit it because they’re running this thing.

Using logic like “they won’t pay attention or be committed if it’s free” is stupid, and just a way of rationalizing the amount you charge. If you choose the right ambitious individuals, they will be committed by nature.

If you really believe that “paying money will get people more committed”, then have everyone including the person who charges devote all the proceeds to charity instead.

It’s strange how hard it is to just follow directions

I tweeted a money manager who truly believed in the ethics of Warren Buffett and ascribes to his style of investing, an author called Guy Spier. He wrote The Education of a Value Investor.

For decades, Warren Buffett has recommended a 20-hole punch rule in most of his speeches: If you want to do investing full-time, don’t make more than 20 investments over the course of your life. That will make you think long and hard about your decisions so that they are the right ones. And 20 is enough to make you incredibly rich.

I asked Mr. Spier if he knew of anyone who actually followed this rule. He said he hadn’t. He hadn’t followed it himself.

mohnish pabrai guy spier

Isn’t that crazy? 

Isn’t it peculiar how hard it is for people to just do what is told?

They’re too tempted to invest more frequently.

I don’t intend to be an investor full-time, but arguably I am still under 20 if you count an index fund as 1.

If that’s the case, I only have 2 investments so far. And even then, I partially regret my 2nd investment in a 2nd index fund as it was unnecessary and it’s used up a hole-punch.

I may be the first person in history to follow his words and it is precisely that reason I will be even more careful with my investing.

I talked for an hour with this one guy who complained about not succeeding despite reading a lot of wealth creation books.

But I bet that he didn’t actually do everything the book said to a tee.

In fact, I’m fairly sure that he just read the books and didn’t execute on even 20% of what was in there.

There are specific steps that you have to take on subconscious programming, for instance: Write and read aloud twice a day the exact amount of wealth you want to achieve, the deadline, what value you will give in exchange for it, and feel like you’re already in possession of it.

Well, what about the fact that Warren Buffett hasn’t followed it himself? Some rules are not hard and fast, as he’s seen to break from even what his mentor, Ben Graham, has said. However, I still think it’s a great rule to follow, and the fact that not one person out of the thousands of money managers out there had adhered to it really makes me want to follow it even more.

My talk with a man who read too many wealth abundance books

I should have pressed this man, but I’m sure if I did, based on his demeanor and overall character during our chat, he would every twenty excuses to why he hadn’t done this in the last month, and why the one time he did, it didn’t including saying it aloud, a deadline, or what value you would give in exchange.

I learned in that meeting that I don’t want to work with people who are a complete mess because it is a drain dragging them up.

I’d rather build an audience of successful people who get this and are executing.

Hopefully, that’s you.

I’m not alone in my opinion

Ryan Lee, owner of an multi-million dollar business, Freedym (the Netflix for lifestyle entrepreneurs). He has poked fun at Joe Polish and Dean Jackson’s $25,000 a year and $100,00 a year masterminds (that’s how much you have to pay to join) by having a $25 mastermind.

Gary Vaynerchuk has taken quite a few jabs at people in this area as well. He has released a good amount of content on social media and his blog insulting people who sell $2,000 eBooks or courses. He thinks it’s ridiculous and says he prides himself on selling real products and giving away everything else for free (though he never calls out specific names. Tai Lopez does stuff like this but he probably doesn’t want to burn bridges since they did a YouTube collab together). It isn’t a jab directly at masterminds, but it’s close.

So how exactly do you do a REAL mastermind?

Follow these steps to a tee:

The Real Rules of a Mastermind Group

These steps are all taken directly from Napoleon Hill’s book:

  1. Get a group of successful people, as big or small as necessary to help you. It can be as low as 2 or high as 50.
    1. Sometimes, it’s better if they’re diverse because they can help you with your weaknesses.
    2. Make sure they’re winners who don’t quit easily. They have to have demonstrated persistence.
  2. Make sure you have enough value to provide in exchange.
  3. Meet AT LEAST twice a week. You must follow Napoleon Hill’s directions completely.
  4. Have a definitive long-term plan for the group
  5. The group must have complete harmony. If one person starts acting out, he must be removed.

In conclusion, a Mastermind can be effective in your pursuit of success if you follow Napoleon Hill’s recipe. I have seen many variations of a Mastermind, which diverge from his model: some people meet once a month or once a week.

I’m not so strict in the sense that I understand that maybe just the general concept is what is important, but I do caution that if you start moving too far away from what is being said, the results can get further and further diluted.

Perhaps, there is a specific reason he called for you to meet twice a week that you have now wiped out with less frequent meetings.

My last piece of advice:

Think and Grow Rich is a great book but I recommend Laws of Success instead. Napoleon Hill wrote Laws of Success as his flagship book, but it was too long and thick of a book for anyone to buy, especially during tough, economic times.

Think and Grow Rich is more of the brochure version that sold. It’s crazy how many people stopped at just Think and Grow. It’s crazier how more people have not even heard of the book. And it’s the craziest that many of those who read Think and Grow Rich never follow even 50% of what is actually being said in the book on a habitual basis.

I’m not going to lie; I need to work on these things myself.

I suggest you read both of these books and take tons of notes, as he goes into more detail on the why and how of Mastermind groups.

How to Find A Mastermind Group

Honestly, the resources, groups, and advice out there on finding a mastermind group are limited. The general public doesn’t even understand what it is and there are almost no public groups or organizations around them.

People may recommend that you go to in-person conventions, Meetup.com, Craigslist, or Facebook groups, but that doesn’t always work. I’m a big user of these and member of many personal development themed groups, like the Art of Charm, Order of Men, and 67 Steps groups. However, they remain as online forums and don’t truly evolve into a group of a handful of members that talk and speak via the phone or in person on a recurring basis. You have to take initiative by reaching out to people you want and actively asking rather than passively hoping it will form naturally.

Jaime Masters of Eventual Millionaire is a great example of someone who started with nothing to her name and used persistence to create her dream mastermind. She kept asking big players, like the entrepreneur Pat Flynn, to join a mastermind she created. When she was first rejected, she kept politely emailing Pat and explaining the value of the group. She started building her own network of connections by reaching out cold to millionaires and interviewing them for a podcast. Eventually, Pat joined.

But it’s tougher to get big players to work with you. Look for up-and-coming hard workers or just like-minded people. Maybe they’re not successful yet but you like their personality traits and you think they can help you. Dave Ramsey was a nobody when he first started his Mastermind. He didn’t form a group with famous, rich people. He did just this and asked people who he liked that were on his same level, or just slightly higher, to join his mastermind. Over many years, they all became successful.

Find Mainstream Groups That Function Similarly

Also, consider joining groups that are not necessarily a mastermind on the surface level, but are similar. If you go out into the real world, the mainstream public doesn’t really have anything that is Master-mind themed. However, there are groups that have similar enough functions. It’s better than nothing and still quite useful. For me, I pay around $60 per half-year to be a member of Toastmasters, a public speaking group. It’s a group that has ambitious people that meet twice a month to practice public speaking and communication skills via a specific format (two to three prepared speeches that are evaluated by a specific person, then an improvised response section by five to six people).

Focus On Groups That Help With A Specific Skill or Goal Rather than Everything

A generalized mastermind that helps with everything in life may be too broad and may not be as useful. Let’s say you really want to focus on productivity or goal-setting. It may be easier to form or find a group specialized in that.

Paid Mastermind Networks

I recently listened to a podcast by Pat Flynn where he interviews a man named Ellory Wells. He runs a business charging and conducting masterminds for others. The main appeal is that it’s more affordable than a “$25,000 a year” group (double digits) and that if you do a free group, members will rarely show up because they’re not incentive. I haven’t tried it out but I’ve been considering it. I’ll report back if I ever do.

Conclusion

Mastermind groups are a proven way to help you and like-minded people achieve the financial freedom you’re after. They are mentioned as core drivers of success from well-known millionaire entrepreneurs, like Dave Ramsey and Pat Flynn. However, the online marketing industry has gone overboard these days and started charging massive fees for people who want to be members of these groups.

While every member should contribute good value to a mastermind, I believe they’ve gone overboard and have focused on making money from the group too much. Do I have anything against Joe Polish and Dean Graziosi, the proponents for ever-increasing priced masterminds?

No. I think that in the long term, the market will find out if the value is worth the price. The purchasers of these premium masterminds are smart people who have made a lot of money. Joe claims that you will back much more than you invested into the group within the first year because of the quality of people who are members. Time will tell if they actually return more value than a similar mastermind with just as good a network at a much more reasonable price.

Personally, I’m a believer in the power of masterminds. My current financial condition will probably push me to create or join a free or affordable mastermind-like group(s) to test it out. But even if I could afford such a costly mastermind, I wouldn’t do it.

Have you tried out a Mastermind yet? If not, why not?

Views – 77

I Am Rich, Successful, And Have Everything But Am Not Happy.

I Am Rich, Successful, And Have Everything But Am Not Happy. Why?

Imagine hitting all your life and financial goals. Sounds great, right?

But many people who get there hit a funk.

Pat Flynn, an online entrepreneur, received this chilling email not long ago. He shared this email in his book Will It Fly? It’s worth sharing if you think money alone is all that matters:

Subject: I make $20,000 per month and I’m not happy.

Hi Pat, I’m sorry to email you like this, but I had no one else to turn to. I feel like I know you because I listen to your voice all day. You’re like a friend, even though we’ve never met. Sorry if that sounds weird.

Anyway, I want to thank you. You don’t know this, but you’ve taught me so much about how to build a successful online business. I currently generate over $20k per month in recurring revenue, but here’s the thing…

I’m unfulfilled. I’m not as happy as I thought I was going to be.

A few years ago, before I started my company, the thought of making this kind of money online was a pipe dream. Now that my “dream” has come true, I realize that I didn’t give my dream much thought at all and there’s much more to life than just making money.

I don’t even know why I’m emailing this to you, Pat. Maybe just to get it off my chest and share it with someone who might understand because you seem to have it all figured out. I don’t know. I just opened my email and started typing, which is funny now that I think about it because I jumped into it without a plan, sort of like how I started my business. Clearly I need to work on that.

Anyway, I don’t expect a reply because I know you’re busy. Thank you Pat, for all you do.

James

This man is not alone. Throughout my hundreds of hours of study of successful people, I’ve found many celebrities and successful entrepreneurs come forward with the same conclusion that wealth and/or fame doesn’t guarantee happiness.

What separates them from the rich and happy people?

Keep Reading

Views – 1005

Mindset the New Psychology of Success Book Summary

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck Book Summary

After decades of research, Stanford psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck found that your beliefs have the ability to affect whether you reach become successful or not. She formed a theory around two core mindsets that categorize the successful from the unsuccessful: the fixed versus growth mindset.

Fixed Mindset Vs. Growth Mindset

What are the differences between a fixed and growth mindset? Let me explain:

What Is A Fixed Mindset? 

Fixed mindset people believe that their skills (intelligence, ability, potential, etc.) are fixed from birth and unchangeable. As you’re going through section, if you realize many of these traits align with how you are, it’s agood test to confirm you have a fixed mindset.

Fixed mindset people have the following characteristics:

  • They hide their deficiencies and will not admit they have them.
  • They don’t enjoy the journey as much as the success at the end.
  • They care more about feeling superior, special, and different from others.
  • They believe their are finished products already rather than works-in-progress.
  • Their self worth and competence is based on their actions and perception by others.
  • They are in school to get good grades — even if it means cheating to do so, not to learn.
  • They put in as little effort as possible because they think smart people don’t need to try hard.
  • After a negative event they caused, they label themselves as something negative. After a positive event they caused, they label themselves as something positive.

They have beliefs and statements like:

  • “If you don’t succeed, never try again.”
  • “Once tried, once failed, never try again.”

Fixed mindset people have thoughts like:

  • “The world is out to get me.”
  • “Nothing good ever happens to me.”
  • “Life handed me a bad life and there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Because they believe their abilities are unchangeable, they evolve behaviors to protect themselves. For example:

  • They will cheat or avoid challenges to hide their deficiencies in skill rather than be okay with it and grow.
  • They avoid opportunities where they can learn and get better if it means exposing their deficiencies.
  • They have a sense of urgency to succeed now because their results measure their worth forever.
  • They will do whatever they can to appear special or different from others.
  • They refuse to try if it means losing because they fear judgement.

After A Failure

Fixed mindset people often have tons of excuses for why they didn’t succeed. They pick excuses that are outside of their control so they can cover up their weaknesses.

After a failure, they may make statements in their head or out loud like:

  • “I’m worthless.”
  • “I’m a loser.”
  • “I suck.”

After a failure, they:

  • Pick a fight.
  • Pout and whine.
  • Sit there and cry.
  • Lock themselves in their room and cry.

They do this even if the failure is not even close to a devastating event. It could be a mid term instead of a final or someone brushing them off instead of an outright rejection.

Any event they cause, good or bad, are labels of themselves. For example, if they win an award, they think, “that means I’m smart.”

Fixed Mindset People Are Normal The Rest Of The Time

Fixed mindset people are not always negative. They can act just like positive growth mindset people most of their lives. But they reveal their differences after they fail.

What is a Growth Mindset?

Keep Reading

Views – 165

Crossfit weight loss progress for beginners

A Beginner’s Guide to CrossFit: I Tried It Out For A Year

You know the problem with all the “beginner’s guide to CrossFit” articles on the web? They’re all written by people who never actually experienced Crossfit for an extended period of time.Instead, they’re telling you what it’s like based on a handful of visits, hearsay, their own opinions, interviewing a trainer (or salesman), myths, superstitions, and false assumptions.

It’s been over a year since I started doing CrossFit. During that time, I went on four or five times a week to one of their classes (they call them WODs, work-outs-of-the-day). I want to profile my review of CrossFit so far, and for once, you’re going to hear it from someone who is naturally pretty skeptical and hasn’t “drank the Koolaid.” There are definitely some myths that need to be shattered.

I want to share with you the truth about CrossFit from someone who has actually been through it, show you my results, and give you my review.

What is CrossFit?

CrossFit is a training program that focuses on increasing your general athletic fitness across numerous cross-training areas, including cardiovascular, stamina, strength, flexibility, speed, agility and so on.

It started by focusing on training police and military. Since then, it has branched out to train everyone, including the average middle-aged mother.

In simple terms, it is cross fitness training. Your goal is to become healthy and fit across numerous areas. Think decathlon versus sprinting.

You’re more of a generalist than a specialist. You may not lift the most weight in a specific lift or run the farthest or fastest in another. But on average across all these metrics, you score higher than most others. And technically, you can be a specialist at CrossFit by competing in the Crossfit Games, which throws a wide variety of tests each year to test you in all these areas.

Keep Reading

Views – 409

An Open Letter to Those Who Are Overwhelmed Managing Multiple Priorities

“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” -Steve Jobs

I got an email from a reader. If you’re part of my email newsletter, you get first dibs on me. Here’s what she said:

Dear Will,

I am trying to juggle an Etsy store, work at a Michelin Star restaurant, and take a Digital Marketing course. I’m trying to use the restaurant job to finance my endeavors and bring my Etsy shop to profitability and use my new skill as a Digital Marketer. But I’m not sure where to begin as a Digital Marketer and also how to memorize so much information in a short period of time for my new restaurant job. I basically need motivation and consistency to keep me in the right direction. After reading your blog, it seems you are the master of these two things.

 

Here’s my reply (and an open letter to everyone who has ever been overwhelmed):

Dear Stressed Student,

It’s time for a quick story…

Once upon a time, there was a boy in his twenties who had high hopes and dreams. And although he had tons of energy to pursue his goals, he was overwhelmed by the advice online.

He wanted to get better at dating, but was paralyzed by the hundreds of contradictory articles and videos. He wanted to grow a YouTube channel, but also wanted to grow an Instagram page and travel the world.

These goals lead him to more advice on the Internet that overwhelmed him even more and spread him work super thin across different subgoals. He was making no progress in any goal because his energy and focus was split.

One day, he watched an interview of Warren Buffett, the richest man in the world. Buffett said that he and Bill were asked what was the biggest factor that lead to their success independently. They both said, “Focus.”

This boy read the book Essentialism, which confirmed how different goals diffuse your progress just like the sunlight without a laser-focused magnifying glass will not burn a spot on the ground.

From there, he started listening to hundreds of interviews of millionaires and high performs via podcasts and kept hearing about the importance of focus. It made perfect sense and he said he would focus. But months later, he found that he wasn’t as focused as he could be. He was constantly tempted by new ideas and different things he could do.

Then, he turned to his struggle with motivation as the cure. He studied what multi-millionaires, like Steve Harvey and Arnold Schwarzenegger, had to say about motivation. On how they achieved so much success by staying motivated while everyone else gave up during the toughest times because their dream was so much bigger than their fear, procrastination, and anxiety.

This boy is me. Focus and motivation are clearly important, but tough to execute on in practice. What if I don’t have a dream as big or compelling as Arnold? How can I stay motivated?

Fortunately, I didn’t stop there. I’ve studied the topic in more detail and may be able to help.

REMEMBER:

It’s easy for us to juggle too many needless tasks. That’s what most people do. It can be tough to make ends meet in life, so sometimes you may have to juggle two things.

But sometimes, you have to do what you must to do what you want. For example, make learning digital marketing your main focus in your free time, and be content with doing as much as you can at your restaurant job to pay the bills for the time being.

Common sense is not so common. It’s a trap for people to say, “that’s obvious” yet end up never doing it.

Sometimes, you can think your main problem is one thing (motivation and consistency), but be completely unaware it’s another (lack of focus). Other times, you need help in all three because you’ve chosen the wrong motivation and it’s not enough to keep you going. 

I don’t know enough about your situation, so it seems like all three are actual problems. If so, here’s what you can do if you’re ever feeling de-motivated or lacking in consistency:

1. Find A Reason Bigger Than Your Resistance

In certain circles these days, this advice has become a cliche. But it’s still true.

There are nuances to this advice that are worth mentioning.

Some people say that you need to find a why that makes you cry. I don’t think so. Arnold Schwarzenegger was the only person that smiled at the gym because he knew every painful repetition lead him closer to be Mr. Olympia, his ultimate dream. 

Steve Harvey was more anxious and scared than the average person each time he got on the stage. He didn’t negate the fear. He did it anyways because his dream of being the #1 comedian was so big. 

But what if you have more modest goals? What if you just want a healthy and happy family one day? Arnold said in the Tim Ferriss podcast that it’s fine to have more modest goals. Not everyone has crazy dreams like him.

Your dream doesn’t have to be monumental It just has to be bigger than your resistance.

2. Find Work That Is Better Than Play

Another way of going about channeling your energy and having the motivation to focus is to find something you enjoy so much that it’s not work. Many of the world’s most successful people have followed this formula.

Keep in mind that we have to be at least somewhat practical.

Some say that you can turn anything you enjoy into a modest full-time career. I won’t say we are there yet. I’ve tried it in many fields and it’s tough. Sometimes, certain markets don’t have enough money to monetize just yet. So have a dose of practicality in what you choose … for now. 

But also keep in mind that fields are opening up. We are in an age where a man can make millions playing video games, editing the footage, and putting it up on his YouTube channel. It’s also an age where there is a lot of competition for a position like this and tens of thousands vying for those spots at the top.

Whatever you’re doing, whether it’s digital marketing or something else, make sure you enjoy it and aren’t doing it mainly for the money.

You won’t find it overnight. It may take years to slowly test different skills. But make an effort to trend in this direction and find what you like.

What I love about Richard Branson and his brand is that he makes sure everyone has fun working for his company. Work doesn’t have to be a horrible chore. Even if it’s work that is mundane in nature and seems like you can’t turn around, he makes it fun somehow. Maybe it means dressing up as a woman, dancing around naked, or jumping into a pool in a suit. It doesn’t require tons of money to have a boatload of fun.

3. Consume the stories of people you want to be like

What lifestyle do you want? Be as detailed as you can. What does their day look like? What do they do for fun? How do they live?

Then, study as much as you can about them. Maybe you prefer a digital lifestyle where you can work from a laptop and travel the world. Who has that lifestyle? Maybe it’s Ryan Lee, Pat Flynn, or Casey Neistat. They all live different flavors of that. You can be even more detailed in what you want to narrow down who to study. Maybe you don’t like making videos, so Casey is out.

I often check if the person I choose has written a book. I’m often surprised that they have, usually on how they did it. This has happened for two people recently I admire, Gary Kasparov and Michael Strahan.

Studying the toughest parts of people’s lives helps you understand how they got through it.

They persevered when everyone else quit. The darkest times are usually right before the sun rise. Sylvester Stallone was homeless before he got his first break. The billionaire John Paul DeJoria slept on his streets with a kid at 21. There are plenty of stories like this if you look for them.

4. Use the Tiny Habits technique

We’ve all tried to use pure willpower to stay focused or started on something … and failed. For me, it was working out at the gym. My history of working out was littered with years and years of procrastination and inconsistency.

Then, I tried something new … and it worked like a charm.

Commit to a consistent routine that’s so easy that you can’t help but to do it. I learned this from Stanford professor BJ Fogg’s years of study on habit formation. 

Don’t increase how much you do until you’re thoroughly comfortable and it’s become ahabit. For me, this was just five minutes of exercise a day. Each time I got there, I wanted to do more because it was so easy to do five minutes. But the tiny commitment helped me get over the biggest hump, which was getting out of the house. 

No matter where you are, someone has accomplished what you want with worse starting circumstances. That means you can do it too. 

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” -Epicurus

One baby step at a time.

Sincerely,

Will

Now, it’s your turn…

Please leave a comment below and let me know:

What’s the number one reason you do what you do?

I would love to hear from you.

Also, if you haven’t already, sign up for my free newsletter to receive the top secrets of high performance I’ve learned.

Views – 191

branding 101

Why Branding Is Important and How It’s Different From A Commodity: An Epic Beginner’s Guide to Secrets of Branding

Before I even started studying businesses and billionaires, I had an unanswered question as a kid. How does a company stand out from all of its competitors that are selling almost the same thing?

That’s quite a weird question for a kid to have. But not so bizarre when I noticed the cut-throat street competition in China and all the lookalike restaurants and gas stations in America. In a highly competitive world, what can you do other than just compete by lower prices until one of you goes bankrupt?

My father, who used to run a tech business in China, said that he would see businesses cut their prices as low as they can go, even to the point of being unprofitable, in order to kill their competitors. How the heck do you counter that? 

Fortunately, these are not new business tactics. Since the dawn of time, the art of business has been honed down to a masterful skill. The problem is that people are too lazy to study history … so they repeat it.

Today, I want to share with you one powerful tool you can use in your toolbox to be a business rockstar: branding.

To explain branding, I have to tell you a story from the billlionaire, Warren Buffett‘s life.

Mr. Buffett used to have an investment style that was based mainly on mathematics. He only bought companies that were going out of business and were willing to sell for less than what you can sell its assets for (assets are stuff like factory parts, trucks, etc.).

He called this “searching for cigar butts” because these businesses had one puff left in them, but the puff was free.

After decades of mistakes, he learned that this strategy sucked. These businesses were not as profitable as just buying a great business and holding it for a long time. Why?

  • You can’t always sell the parts of the business right away.
  • You have to deal with hordes of angry employees who hate you for shutting everything down.
  • If the industry is dying, you’re fighting an upstream battle you won’t win. For example, he was in the textile business and no matter how exceptional his managers were, it was clear that competitors overseas could just do everything they did for a lot cheaper .

If you get into a great business, you have the opposite effect: the wind is pushing you where you want to go.

Therefore, his approach shifted to studying the fundamental traits of a great business. These businesses are rarely ever commodities. They’ve mastered the art of branding and have risen above their competitors.

What Is A Brand and What Is A Commodity? Which Are You?

“The difference between branding and sales is simple. Are you trying to convert or are you trying to create an experience? The latter always wins.” –Gary Vaynerchuk

What exactly is a brand? As hinted at, a brand is the reputation of your company, product, or personality in your market. The appeal of a brand is that it outsells competitors in the long term because you have built up so much goodwill.

There are many ways to build a brand, including appearing everywhere, out-caring competitors, over-delivering, and investing in customer experiences that go beyond the short-term one-time transaction.

A commodity is something that can be replaced purely by the ingredients alone. You wouldn’t pay any extra for one company’s product over another. An example would be someone who sold salt or napkins. You couldn’t care less which one is better.

These businesses are really hard to compete in because it’s hard to forge a competitive advantage that others can’t copy. You are competing on how much cheaper you can manufacture the napkins for or any additional features of the napkin like comfort, quality, and durability.

A commodity usually doesn’t have much brand presence built around it and focuses on the one-time transaction. There is usually no thought put into how a company can over-deliver beyond the initial transaction so that the experience is so good that they build a reputation and the customer tells others about it.

Why Branding Matters

The entrepreneur Neil Patel properly explains the power of a brand. When you think of a credit card, shoe, phone, computer, or car, a specific brand will probably pop into your head and you’ll probably go to them immediately (American Express, Nike, Apple, BMW, etc.). You don’t always Google for these terms and simply compare companies based on features like a commodity. Their reputation already has significant influence on your decision in their mind.

To answer that, I have to point to sodas and candy. There have been countless double blind scientific tests done comparing the most recognizable sodas in the world, like Pepsi and Coca-Cola, with store brand colas. Guess what? People rated the sodas the same when they couldn’t tell which it was. Yet when they knew what it was, they were willing to pay five to ten times more. 

Warren Buffett makes a similar analogy with chocolate bars in the U.S. People will actually refuse to buy a store brand chocolate bar that’s cheaper and go to another store to get a Hershey’s bar if it’s not in stock. That’s really powerful.

So, to answer your question, proper branding can shoot your customer loyalty through the roof and allow you to charge a lot more for the same quality product. 

Warren Buffett calls this concept economic goodwill. This is the monetary value of your company’s brand value that isn’t quantified in their balance sheets, a magical concept that took him many mistakes to learn. It’s like saying a person’s life is worth more than what you can sell his organs for. Similarly, Coca-Cola is worth a lot more than what you can sell its factories and resources for; they have a lot of intangible brand value that they’ve build up over decades that isn’t quantified in accounting.

A great business often has a brand or is in the process of building one. A commodity business usually is worth what you can sell its parts for because it hasn’t built a brand yet.

Now, there is a limit to how much you can charge before your customers get mad at the lack of quality. We’ll cover that in another section.

And great branding isn’t easy to build. Warren Buffett says a reputation can take twenty years to build and ten seconds to destroy. We’ll cover that later too.

When Has A Brand Gone Too Far and Exploited What They Have?

There are plenty of candidates for great brands, like Apple, Legos, Barbie, Hershey’s, Coca-Cola, See’s Candy, Beats by Dr. Dre, Gucci, Patron, or Northface. But which of these have gone too far? What happens when you exploit your brand and cross the line? What if you charge excessive amounts for the same quality products your customers can buy elsewhere for cheaper and they catch on to it?

Well, the brand reputation gets tarnished.

People are willing to pay 2x to 10x more for the product EVEN THOUGH most double-blind quality experiments for their products versus a competitor show that their competitor’s product is equal or BETTER quality.

Northface

I’ve fallen for this trap numerous times. I’ve caught myself about to buy a $200 Northface jacket because the logo was recognizable and it’d make me feel cool in school EVEN THOUGH the employees at the store urged me to get the $49 equivalent from a nameless brand. It was SO tough for me to not buy the Northface EVEN THOUGH the quality of the nameless brand was clearly a bit better.

Beats By Dre

I have seen this same phenomenon play out when I considered Beats by Dre headphones. This video explains it really well:

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Is it too late to be successful after a certain age

Is It Too Late To Be Successful After (Insert Age Here)?

For the longest time, I felt like it was way too late to make an impact on the world and become successful.

I am ambitious and I wanted to be really successful. But the news made it seem like if you did not become a singer, actress, or tech entrepreneur by the time you were 21, it was over. It turns out I’m not the only one. A lot of other people (some into their 40’s) think it’s too late.

But then I got into personal development and did some research. I studied hundreds of the world’s most successful people and I was startled at what I found.

It’s not true at all. When you think it is all over, it’s really just the beginning of an incredible journey.

Get Excited. The Best Years of Your Life Are Ahead.

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10 Timeless Men’s Fashion and Style Tips: Dress Timeless Without Stress (Updated)

I’ve found a strange pattern on my journey of personal development…

Style and fashion matter.

It’s important to many area of life: dating, sales, business, presentation, grooming, etiquette, and so on.

Yes, you have a few tech billionaires who wear what they want (Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg) but most successful people understand the importance of looking presentable.

If you believe me, you’re way ahead of my young self. For decades, I disregarded fashion because I thought it was what was on the inside that counted and getting good grades was all that mattered. Obviously, that backfired for years in my dating and professional life.

 

The truth is that your outer world is a reflection of your inner world. If your room, hair and outfit is a mess, your mental health and effectiveness as a human being are likely a mess too. There are exceptions, but studies have proven that women are quite effective at judging us in this way.

Also, you just appreciate someone who dresses well and takes care of himself more. It looks cool. It shows they care about their image. So let’s not be hypocritical here; we are all superficial on some level for our own good.

Let’s crush these limiting beliefs together. One of the top Men’s fashion Youtubers Alpha M, otherwise known as Aaron Marino, was voted best dressed in high school even though he was dirt poor. He did it by buying intelligently at a thrift store.

It just goes to show you how you can still fail with money while others succeed without it. I have spent hundreds of dollars on clothing I would be embarrassed to wear now. Today, I’m going to share with you how to hack the process so that never happens again.

Why We Look Horrible Even When We Spend Lots of Money

Let’s start with why this happens. Most people have horrible fashion sense. Here’s an example to illustrate. I was listening to a podcast where they were giving an average guy named Joe a makeover. He wore awful clothing and it was revealing when he started reasoning out why he thought it looked cool.

He chose colors and t-shirts because they were his favorite color or design. But he ended up looking like a strange greenish banana. He didn’t see anything wrong with his fashion even though it was clear to others how horrible it was. This is the danger of bad fashion sense. 

Instead, get some help from people who know what they are doing.

The Philosophy of Timeless, Simple Fashion For Busy Men

That’s why this article is all about a few core philosophies:

  • Spending minimal time in your life buying clothes because you are busy and because you don’t have to if you understand some fashion principles.
  • Using timeless outfits that will always be in style to look sharp.
  • Having a couple core colors that always look good for each piece of clothing, which can lead to dozens of variations of outfits despite a minimum wardrobe.
  • Spending a little more time to learn more about fashion so that you appear to know more than 99% of people out there (trust me, it’s startling how easy this is).

Why Fashion Helps You Earn More

I don’t want to go too deep into the reasons why fashion is important because some of it should be obvious. It’s like explaining why exercise is important.

But I must talk a bit about why style can make you earn more because it is overlooked yet so important.

I have read countless wealth creation and sales books like Think and Grow Rich or How To Win Friends and Influence People that mention how fashion is important. In some of the books, they have stories to prove this.

One of them was a man who bought a great suit that he couldn’t afford on credit. It made him look and feel so good. Plus, it made him look the part of a successful businessman. He assumed the image of a successful man and eventually scored a business deal from someone who kept passing him on the street and admiring his fashion.

I don’t recommend buying clothes on debt. But what I do agree with is that looking good makes you feel good. And if you feel good, you will be more confident and perform better. Plus, you look the part and people assume you are someone worth working with.

Now, let’s look at a real story that you can relate to. An article by Neil Patel explains how he tested out wearing a suit versus regular clothing during his sales meetings. Neil does a lot of these and usually closes 1 out of 4 people. But with his suit, he went from 25% to a 40% closing rate. This brought in an extra $692,500 that year. He also said his clothes and accessories helped him form a lot of valuable business relationships.

Neil’s story is a great case study because he mentions in the article that he’s someone who does not care about clothing or superficiality. He wears suits now because the numbers do not lie.

Note: looks aren’t everything and you can still be a horrible person on the inside even if you dress well.

I have been watching a decent amount of men’s fashion advice videos and videos where women give fashion advice.

Like these:

I have also been asking women my age for advice. I have asked maybe 20+ that have given decent responses. It’s surprisingly one of the best ways of starting a conversation. Women love fashion. They are much more open to talking versus using a pickup line.

What I have found from these videos is exciting:

Men are encouraged to keep it minimalistic and simple!

They are told to leave the intricate, complicated, fancy stuff to the females.

I’m so glad about this because it means less work and less accessories or extra clothing to buy for us!

It also goes back to Steve Jobs and Bill Gates:

CEOs and founders have a lot of responsibilities and therefore they have to deal with limited cognition, willpower, and decision making.

To avoid decision fatigue, they have to limit all the small choices they have in a day: like choosing outfits.

It’s a real thing.

That’s why I was SUPER excited about this.

I don’t like spending a needlessly large amount of time buying clothes or picking outfits everyday. I’m all about productivity so it’s great that I don’t have to and still fall into what women love the most.

Without further ado, here are ten fashion tips you can live by that will make you in style and keep you in style for years to come with minimal effort:

1. Spend Somewhat More For Quality (But Not Too Much)

For many consumer goods you buy, you get rapidly diminishing increases of quality as the price goes up. The reason is simple. There’s a limit to how “high quality” it can get. Here are some examples:

Photo and video cameras. The picture quality between a $100 one and a $1000 one is huge. Beyond that, you’re spending massive amounts of money for small increases in quality.

Jeans, socks, and underwear. Can you tell the difference between a $2,000 pair of jeans and a $200 pair? Probably not, right?

This is great news. It means you don’t have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to be the most fashionable. Most people can’t tell the difference either, so that’s a great area to cut costs and avoid getting scammed by luxury brands.

My philosophy is to spend a moderate amount for quality, but not too much. If you spend too little, you get horrible quality clothing that rips or shrinks quickly. Others can also easily tell it’s not the best quality. However, if you spend a moderate amount more, you hit the point of indistinguishable high quality.

A moderate quality lasts longer, and looks just as good as something that costs a hundred times more.

The greatest difference in quality comes from that initial few jumps in quality. For the minor articles of clothing mentioned (like socks), one or two jumps in price tier from the cheapest option is enough. For more important clothing, like suits, chinos, and collared shirts, three or four jumps in price are more suitable.

For a suit, that might mean a $1,000 to $2,000 suit rather than a $100 suit. For a t-shirt, that might mean a $30 to $60 one from Banana Republic versus a $5 one from Target.

For shoes, there is a big jump in quality between $100 and $200, and another big jump at $400. Stick around the $200 to $400 range for the best bang for your buck.

Beyond those price jumps, the extra features aren’t worth the price. I’d avoid the $10,000 to $50,000 suit and $100 to $500 T shirt at all costs.

2. Minimalism and Simplicity Are Key

When you ask beginners about fashion, they assume you need six or seven articles of clothing draped around you to look cool. But when you actually look at the men who were something that’s still fashionable 40 years later, it’s simple. Just a well-fitted collared shirt and jacket can do the trick and last the test of time.

David Beckham Fashion Advice Example
David Beckham, a star soccer athlete and fashion icon, rocking a simple collared suit and jacket beautifully on Instagram.

This is great news because it means less clothes you have to manage, less time you have to spend choosing outfits, and less money you have to spend. 

Our wardrobe and closet does not have to be the nightmare we envision of thousands of clothes in a pile that would take hours a week to organize and maintain.

We can do fairly well by being fairly minimalistic and simple, which is what girls want.

Obviously, don’t overdo it as it would be foolish to believe that some variety is always a bad thing.

1-3 versions of v-necks, boots, jeans, collared shirts, plaid, and suits could just about do it.

I didn’t really like the v-neck because I thought it was for only muscular men.

Having asked enough girls though, it seems that it still works well for non-muscular men, though of course they would prefer a muscular male.

Why A Minimal Wardrobe is Great For Busy, Ambitious People

Second, let’s talk about willpower. There is a reason Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg wore the same outfit everyday.

To conserve their limited willpower. Studies show that if let it, your willpower drain in a day, leading to worse decisions and a weak mind vulnerable to temptations. They need that willpower to make critical decisions rather than waste it on unimportant choices, like which outfit to pick. Obama explained it like this:

“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”

3. Keep It Timeless: Timeless Colors, V-Neck’s, and Suits

This is the key.

Don’t try and choose crazy colors because you think they “look cool.” Don’t try and buy some wacky designs because you think you’re going to look unique. Don’t try and be the “trendsetter” when you suck at fashion.

It just backfires and makes you awful. And even if it’s in fashion right now, it will go out of fashion in ten years. And you will be embarrassed. Like The Rock:

On the Internet, I’ve watched a lot of makeovers where experts come in to help an average man with his fashion. One of the most common problems is a severe lack of understanding of colors. They choose off-the-wall, crazy colors because it “looks cool” or it’s their favorite color, not realizing the colors clash or are just weird.

Here are the colors you should stick to:

  • Black
  • White
  • Gray or Charcoal Gray
  • Navy Blue

These colors look well for suits, polo’s, t-shirts, v-neck’s, and dress-shirts.

Once you’re fully settled in these and know a bit more about fashion, you can venture into:

  • Light Blue
  • Medium Blue
  • Silver
  • Brown

It may seem boring but these basic colors are timeless. In fact, some of the most fashionable men out there probably wear only or mostly these colors. I bet you. Check out the suits David Beckham wears. You do not need flashy colors to look good. It’s less stress juggling more colors anyways.

Here are some of the top colors and designs you should avoid:

  • bright orange
  • purple
  • yellow
  • lime-green
  • stripes
  • polka dots
  • crazy patterns

Don’t try and do something crazy. Leave that to professionals in fashion who do this full time.

For you, stick to simple, solid colors, with no (or very few) stripes.

I suggest you only stick to black, gray, and white. Common timeless outfits include v-necks and suits.

Think timeless. These colors will be in trend 30 years from now just like they were 30 years ago. You don’t want to have an outfit or trend that goes out of date in a few months. The same concept applies to not just colors, but outfits.

If you do venture into other colors, remember this…

If you cannot resist buying other bolder colors, keep these colors to 5% of your wardrobe. These should be a tiny “spice” to the rest of your outfit. Adding too many colors makes you look like a rainbow clown.

I suggest the color red because studies show women find this more attractive and people find it more persuasive. This could be linked to the history of the color red, which  only the wealthy and high status could afford it. Humans may still be genetically wired to unconsciously assume you are high-status when they see red.

Wear Timeless Suits. Ladies Love Them.

Suits are one of the big ones. Most women who are asked say that they love a man wearing a suit.

A classic suit is always in style.

There are men who wore suits in the 1940’s who would still look completely in place now. As I explained with Neil Patel, a good suit can help you outside of just dating. It can help you in business.

Your first foundational suit should be versatile, timeless, and smart. Therefore, it should be a solid navy (preferred) or a solid charcoal gray. It shouldn’t have stripes because it’s not as versatile. It should have 3 buttons, no more and no less. Source: Real Men Real Style

Keep it with these safe colors. If you want to add some spice, you can do it with a colorful tie or dress shirt.

Suit Supply has great $400 suits that fit well and are great quality. Some of them have free shipping, returns, and tailoring. Absolutely make sure it’s fitted. See the next heading to see why it matters so much (especially for suits).

4. Get It Fitted

The right fit makes all the difference. Many people have incredibly muscular bodies but fail to show it off because of excessively baggy clothing. Having the right fit can really complement your height and physique if you do things right.

Having the right fit can really complement your height and physique if you do things right. The wrong fit can fail to market you as the incredible person you truly are.

Most people don’t know what the right fit is. They think it’s good, but it’s usually too loose.

If you have money, consider spending around $30 to $40 for a tailor to come in to tailor your dress shirts and suits. It is usually worth it.

If you want to save some money and try to buy a fitted shirt off the rack:

Here’s a general rule of thumb: 

Measure your neck circumference and arm length. Those measurements are on dress shirts when you buy them and it’s easy to compare. What people miss are the chest and waist lengths. You don’t have to measure these since shirts don’t even list these measurements.

What people miss are the chest and waist lengths. You don’t have to measure these since shirts don’t even list these measurements. This is what you can do: try on the shirt and look at yourself in a mirror. Put your arms out to either side. There should be an inch or less of room on either side of your chest and waist if you pull out the shirt.

There it cuts off on the shoulder part of your suit, jacket, or dress shirt should be at the end of your shoulders.

There’s plenty of videos on Youtube about how dress shirts, jeans, t-shirts, dress pants, and everything else should fit.

If you have the money, you can spend around $40 bucks to get it custom tailored and it will be worth it. You want to only do this for the things that matter, like a suit or dress shirt.

For something like t-shirts, learn a bit about proper fit to buy it right off the rack.

5. Wear What’s Comfortable For You And Fits With Your Lifestyle

The function of your clothes is one of the most important factors of your purchase decision. Buy clothes you are going to wear often. If you’re wearing something that doesn’t fit with the context of the event you’re attending, you’re screwed no matter how expensive or high quality it was.

For example, don’t wear a suit to the gym and don’t wear a t-shirt and jeans to a formal event. In cases like these, choosing an appropriate outfit for the event (the function) matters more than fit or fabric.

Also, push your comfort zone with your choices, but not too much. You still want something that comes natural to your personality. Even if you look attractive, if you don’t feel like it really represents you, that will seep through on a subconscious level and make you look less attractive.

I think the difference between a good and great fashion expert is that they understand this. Don’t force a nerdy outfit if you’re more of a jock.

6. Don’t Try Too Hard

If you try overly hard to showboat something, people can sniff that out as compensating or faking it.

This happens all the time when people rent expensive cars or buy fake watches and pretend it’s real and they own it.

Women and men sniff it out because it’s over the top.. and it’s a turn-off.

The lesson is simple: don’t be super flashy with your fashion and try-hard – it’s off-putting.

An example would be an overly playboy or bad boy outfit.

A quick reference back to the Neil Patel article: he also experimented with buying a number of different watch brands. He found that an overly flashy and clearly flamboyant $28,000 watch was looked down upon while a simple, non-fancy $100,000 watch got noticed and got him more business contracts.

The point is: don’t be overly try hard in trying to look successful

7. Make Sure It Fits Your Body Type

Make sure the clothing fits you well.

The difference between a crappy outfit and a good one could simply be the size that you choose to wear it.

Based on me studying fashion advice, I have found that I have usually been choosing a size that’s usually overly baggy: I used to choose a large t-shirt even though I have a smaller body.

If you don’t know, choose the smaller size so it wraps around your body better. (may be different if you have a bigger or overweight frame)

channel art

8. Realize That The Most Expensive Choice Isn’t Always The Best Value

Some stores, like Hugo Boss, rip you off. They charge two to five times more for the same quality and design of clothing.

OK, if you’re rich and don’t care, you can skip this section. You can even hire a tailor to come to your house if the time cost of going to the mall isn’t worth the money you could be making.

However, you can definitely save a ton of money by spending a bit more time choosing.

Only buy clothes you set out to buy. You can often find great deals at the discount section and I encourage you to take a look. However, beware of buying clothes you never should have because it’s on sale.

Everyone has a piece of clothing that is too big or small or just a weird color that they bought because it was on sale, even though they’ve never worn it. Even if it’s cheap, you’re still wasting money on something you will never use! Don’t fall for sales gimmicks.

Here are some of the best clothing stores to go to that have great quality clothing but are still affordable. This is ranked from worst quality and cheapest to best quality and most expensive:

  • H&M (decent quality but wears quickly)
  • JC Penney
  • Macy’s (The American Rag section and the J. Ferrar line are great)
  • The Gap (great quality and price but more for casual clothing. It’s a versatile brand that fits almost everyone.)
  • Banana Republic

This video also has some great options:

The Tie Bar is a great place for affordable ties. See Point #10 on this article to understand why you shouldn’t waste time spending too much extra on a tie.

For shoes, here are you best options (starting at affordable and going to higher quality and more expensive):

  • Macy’s
  • Zappos.com (affordable and has almost anything. Flexible)
  • DSW (slightly more expensive, good quality)
  • Nordstrom (great but for more formal and business-type shoes)
  • Cole Haan
  • Johnson Murphy

If you are really on a budget, here are some tips to really the most affordable clothing:

  • Sign up for email newsletters on Brand websites for coupons.
  • Go straight to the discount section (often, the size won’t fit you, but sometimes you’ll be surprised).
  • Go to outlet counterparts of stores.
  • Go to Target, Marshall’s, or TJ Max.
  • Go to Thrift Stores.

9. Never Buy Clothing You’re Iffy About. Don’t Have Bad Clothes In Your Closet.

Have you ever spent money on clothing you’ve barely worn or never wore? I have. And I’m a very frugal guy. But over my lifetime, there’s probably a good 300 to 400 dollars worth of wacky clothing I never wore.

Because of my naivete, I bought things like a bright blue, plaid hoodie from Hollister and a deep Ed Hardey v-neck that I’ve never worn even though they cost me an arm and a leg.

Lack of fashion knowledge can cost you when you are most vulnerable. I was frugal for many months but ended up splurging on random clothing like this that I’ve never worn.

I watched a video on Youtube about a homeless man who sleeps with women everyday despite being homeless. The most striking thing about him was that he was well-dressed and well-groomed despite being homeless. How?When they asked him how many bad outfits he had, he said he had none.

How? When they asked him how many bad outfits he had, he said he had none. All he was were 3 awesome outfits that he kept clean. He would steal cologne and grooming supplies from the mall.

What’s my point? This man was better dressed than most men because he adopted a minimalist wardrobe with no bad options. 

If your wardrobe has bad clothing in it you’ll never or will rarely wear, remove it. 

You want clothing that you can wear confidently because it fits your personality. If you are iffy about it, pass on it. Trying to wear something that’s not you is like trying to fake a personality. It doesn’t work! I’ve tried.

10. Spend Less On The Items Most People Will Never Notice

Ties are one of those things where 99% of people can’t tell the difference between a $10,000 tie and a $200 tie. The same goes for underwear and socks, something that you’ll barely even show to others — if at all. This is an easy place to save money or waste money with close to no extra impact for the money you spend. Save your cash.

The Tie Bar is a great affordable yet quality website to buy ties.

Many big companies cheat customers by selling the same piece of clothing for multiple times the price by pumping up the brand name. It’s often the same thing in every way as a competitor product that doesn’t have the logo. But the often successfully trick you into thinking there’s something more there.

Sometimes, the quality is even worse but people will pay through the nose for the logo. I’m sure you’ve experienced this yourself. Despite my frugal Asian upbringing, I’ve fallen for this too. Here are some big examples: Beats by Dre Headphones versus any other brand headphone or The North Face jackets versus any similar jacket with a different logo. Air Jordans and Yeezy shoes are a similar thing. A pair of Yeezy’s can go for $2,000+.

Here are the biggest brands to avoid according to my trusted source, Alpha M:

  • Polo’s or other clothing by Ralph Lauren or Lacoste
  • Jos. A Bank
  • Men’s Warehouse
  • Armani
  • Diesel
  • Abercrombie

Note: the exception to this rule is that occasionally the logo is worth it. For example, I have asked many girls in the area and they love and look for the Ralph Lauren logo. However, this is different for each location you live in so figure out what works for you.

Most of the time I overemphasize on this, I pay too much and get underwhelming results. Don’t do this often. For example, I paid for quite a few Ralph Lauren polo’s. It did make me look more presentable, but there was a very negligible, noticeable change in results in any part of my life. Girls definitely didn’t flock to me just because I was wearing the shirts. Also, each shirt cost $50 to $80. It cost an arm and a limb for me. It was too expensive given my limited budget and I won’t do it again anytime soon.

Also, each shirt cost $50 to $80. It cost an arm and a limb for me. It was too expensive given my limited budget and I won’t do it again anytime soon. Maybe when I’m super rich.

Don’t Focus On The Minor Low-Impact Items

A common mistake for beginners is that they will focus on small minutiae while overlooking high impact points of fashion. Let me explain:

Have you ever heard of Pareto’s Principle? Essentially, it says that 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort, and 20% of the remaining results come from 80% of the effort. Therefore, focusing on the 20% matters more.

In the case of men’s fashion, the 20% is mastering your fit, fabric, and function.

If you don’t have that down, it doesn’t matter what else you do, you’ll look bad. Don’t make the mistake of focusing on pointless minutiae, like having a fancy tie knot or a bizarre pocket square, when your suit doesn’t fit, is low quality, or doesn’t work with the event you’re attending.

Conclusion

In summary, master your fit, fabric, and function — and the rest will follow. Also, keep these timeless secrets in mind:

  • Use simple solid colors, especially black, white, and gray, and clothing that is interchangeable.
  • Collared Button-Up’s are timeless when it’s cold outside.
  • Simple, Minimalistic outfits, like jeans, boots, a shirt, are fine. You don’t have to over do it as a man.
  • Avoid the “child’s look” (t-shirt, hoodie, and tennis shoes) if you’re no longer a teen.
  • A classic suit works wonders.

Looking back through my life, there were plenty of moments where I walked through numerous clothing stores wondering what to buy.

I would come out of the store bewildered, not knowing what to buy because I had no knowledge of the science of men’s fashion. If I did buy something, it would be something crazy-looking and expensive that I would end up never wearing, like a Ed Hardy deep v-neck.

I’m so glad that I took some time to invest and learn about men’s fashion. I realize now that the materials and ingredients were always there around me. The stores I wanted to go to were always where, but I just didn’t know what to buy or look for.

Rather than looking for a dress-shirt or a proper fitting pair of pants, I might come out with some crazy-colored t-shirt I thought looked cool. This is a great example of learning from people who know what they’re doing.

Fashion is one of those areas where someone who is below-average in skill can be lead to believe that he is great at it. Learning about the standards of fashion and what other girls like really helped eliminate my bias. I see this in others to an extreme extent and so you have to be careful.

If I were to summarize this whole thing in as few words as possible, it’d be:

Keep it smart but simple, wear what’s timeless, wear what’s comfortable to you, wear v-necks, black and white simple colors, suits, boots, jeans, be willing to spend a little more for quality.

Don’t spend too much on a specific article of clothing.

Certain things 99% of people can’t tell costs 100x more so save yourself the cash.

Examples include jeans and ties. Spend a reasonable amount (don’t be super cheap) but don’t spend thousands or even hundreds.

Fashion differs slightly depending on your culture and geographic location. People in a certain area might like more preppy-clothing.

According to Realmenrealstyle.com, remember the 3 pillars of Fashion success: fit, fabric, and function.

  • Fit – Does it properly fit your body frame well?
  • Fabric – Is it good quality? Will it last?
  • Function – Are you wearing it for the right occasion?

What you choose to wear can have a deep effect. You could be the most successful, wealthiest, most intelligent businessman on earth but if you dress like you’re a 17 year old teenager with a messy t-shirt, men and women sometimes won’t even give you a chance to open your mouth.

They often have nothing to go on but your looks.

I’m starting to see the importance of looks now. There are adults who have done fairly well and somehow managed to get through life without having to care at all about their fashion or grooming. Because of that, they have disheveled hair and crumbled jackets that they wear. Even I can’t deny it’s not a good look.

You’re definitely selling yourself short if you’re an amazing guy and you choose to dress very poorly. Most people don’t realize that your fashion is a choice. Many people have sort of just got used to it being a routine. It is definitely something that is a choice and that can be changed for the better.

And make sure you have confidence. Wearing clothes that make you look good will help with your confidence. I’ve done articles about improving confidence if you want more info. 

What have you learned about timeless clothing advice that can almost be applied anywhere in the world that you can back up with data? I’d love to know.

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How To Stand Out In Your Job and Get A Raise or Promotion

19 Secrets on How To Stand Out In Your Job & Get A Raise or Promotion

Most people don’t care about succeeding. They walk through life like zombies. But you’re not like that. You’ve been looking to earn more and do more for a while now. I’ve heard your cries for help.

It can be frustrating when you work hard for extended periods of time without recognition. I’ve been there. You know what it’s like. But no longer.

I’ve curated some of the best advice from experts on how to get a raise or promotion, including Ramit Sethi, Jack Welch, Dorie Clark, Gary Bencivenga, and more. I want to share with you what I learned.

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