Today is Robert D. Smith’s birthday, and I’m stealing his blog.
Two questions you might have:
- How did some random weirdo steal Robert’s blog?
- Why would he do such a thing?
Okay, so technically I didn’t “steal” Robert’s blog. Actually, for over four years now, I’ve worked very closely with Robert in the content development and copywriting department.
I’m already responsible for posting the blog posts Robert writes into the actual blog editor, so I suppose it’s not stealing if Robert gave me the login information.
Anyway, onto the reason why I’m writing this. In a few short weeks, I will no longer be officially working with Robert. I’m starting a new copywriting job with an incredible startup company called LeadPages (which we’ve actually been using for several months as customers).
So, before I go, I wanted to tell Robert the three most important lessons I learned in 4+ years of working with him. However, as I was writing them out, I realized something—why not pass these lessons along to the people who can most directly benefit from learning them like I did…Robert’s readers!
And I couldn’t think of a better day to drop a surprise right on Robert’s head than his own birthday. :-)
So without further delay, I present you with the three most important things I’ve learned from Robert (and there just miiiiiight be another extra surprise you’re going to want to see at the end of the post):
1. The “one thing” is everything.
In the four years I’ve worked with Robert, he has released/overseen the release of:
- Eight print books published through a major publisher (each with its own corresponding audiobook read by the author)
- Eight self-published ebooks
- Three audio programs
- Two majorly large online courses
- A typographic print
- Too many new websites and versions of websites to count
- An entirely new brand (TheRobertD.com)
All while managing a speaker who has done over 50 engagements per year for all four of those years, overseeing and negotiating several ongoing deals to develop books into movies, investing in an awesome startup company started by a couple of guys he personally mentored, dealing with a crazy medical situation, and investing countless hours into coaching others on their businesses.
This is a long way of saying that Robert always makes sure there’s a lot of stuff happening.
For a long time, this was frustrating for me. Why couldn’t we just take our time to focus on one thing and make it the absolute best it can possibly be instead of focusing on 20 projects at once?
Because even the best home run hitters strike out more often than they hit home runes.
That’s why the best way to hit a home run isn’t to give it one shot where you swing as hard as you ever possibly could—the best way to hit a home run is to give yourself as many chances as possible to swing.
Even if you build something amazing, there’s still no guarantee it will succeed. That’s why there is no “one thing” that will change your business (and you should run from people who say there is).
2. The only metric that matters is money.
The very first email I received from Robert came the day after we first met. I had agreed to do a small editing project for him. I was still in college and this was the first “real” freelance opportunity that had ever come my way.
The email included this line:
“I did tell you I would pay you for your review. Call me so we can discuss money.”
At the time, the thought of discussing money made my stomach turn. I was so happy about the opportunity I would have done it for free. Why focus on the money? It felt so sleazy.
But Robert was different. Robert absolutely loved talking about money. Big amounts, small amounts, whatever. It made him light up.
Not because it meant more cars, nicer houses, or elaborate vacations, but because it meant more impact—more books in the hands of more readers and more speeches in front of more eyes.
And, above all else, more months that he would be in business.
After all, you never hear about people failing because they were making plenty of money but just couldn’t get enough Twitter followers to stay in business. Or website traffic. Or Amazon reviews.
With thousands of things to measure, it’s easy to get sidetracked from the most important metric of all. If you want your business to impact people, it has to survive first.
Don’t ignore the money because it feels uncomfortable. Embrace it.
3. Whatever you’re doing is not worth doing unless you have to be doing it.
Robert calls this having to have a “have to.” (Say that five times fast.)
I’ve come to believe this is the single hardest task a person can attempt. It’s hard enough just to find the thing you “have to” do. It’s even harder to then actually go do it.
Why? Because of the two previous things we discussed in this post:
- The amount of work involved to pull it off (the “everything” involved)
- The uncertainty of how you’ll make money doing your “have to”
Those two questions apply to all kinds of “have to”s, not just business ones.
Some people’s “have to” involves becoming a mom or a dad—a decision that always produces financial uncertainty and a whole lot of “everything” tasks from what I’ve heard.
Sometimes the game becomes how to survive in spite of your “have to”…just ask a teacher.
If you’re looking for a way to discover your “have to,” or if you already know what it is and you’re trying to determine how you’re going to find a way to do it every single day, you’ve come to the right place.
Because Robert has been doing his “have to” for so long that he forgets he’s even doing it. He does it because it’s simply become what he does. That’s why his office is in his bedroom (trust me, it’s way cooler than it sounds).
And it’s also why I’m about to do something that may or may not get me into some hot water. :-)
Get a Free Coaching Session with Robert D. Smith
I’m going to give Robert a “reverse birthday gift” of sorts.
I’m going to give everyone reading this post the opportunity to win a free 1-on-1 45-minute coaching session via phone with Robert.
The subject of the call? That’s up to you. It can be anything from your business, to the book you’re trying to publish, to the speaking career you’re trying to launch, to the process of living out your “how to.”
All you have to do to enter is simply leave a comment below that answers the following question:
How would you benefit from a coaching session with Robert?
A few words of advice on how to write a great entry: Be as specific and thorough as possible. What results are you after? Include it all in your comment. We want details!
(And, of course, bonus points to anyone who gives Robert a creative “Happy Birthday” message along with your answer.)
On Wednesday, May 7, we’ll announce the winner right here around noon Central time.
So get to work on those answers! I promise the 45 minutes you spend talking to Robert will be one of the most valuable 45-minute periods of your life.
Will Hoekenga is a copywriter and the founder of Copygrad.com. Click here to grab a free copy of his ebook, The Copywriter’s Library, the only book about writing officially endorsed by Robert D. Smith.
Update and Winner Announcement from Robert D.
WOW. First of all, a major Thank-YOU to everyone for the birthday wishes! I’m beyond honored by all your thoughts and wishes.
The reason why I am just now responding is because I was truly more unplugged than I have been in a long time over the past five days. I was spending time with family in Charlotte, North Carolina, where there were many celebrations, meals with dessert eaten first, and tipping points for major ideas that are coming soon.
So, again, thank-YOU!
There were so many outstanding comments that choosing a winner was very difficult. So difficult, in fact, that my team and I came up with an extra surprise we believe will be highly valuable for everyone who entered (so don’t stop reading if you don’t see your name below)!
Before we get to that, however, I’d like to announce the winner:
Congratulations, NR Johnson!! I’m very much looking forward to talking to you. To schedule the call, please email Chase@TheRobertD.com with the subject line “45-Minute Coaching Call Contest.”
As for all the other awesome entrants, here’s what I want to do for you—a free, limited access webinar designed to help you specifically plan the most important aspects of your life. It will be 30-45 minutes of the same intensive life-planning strategies and systems I’ve implemented in my life and business + at least 30 more minutes of Q&A where you can ask me anything.
I’m going to be sending out a registration email in the next few weeks, but I will not be sending it to my entire email list. So, if you want to be sure you receive the registration email, simply click here and let me know you want to be on the special list!
I’m so excited about this. Again, major thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes and for entering into the contest!