The Best Way to Learn Anything

You’re reading this likely because you want to learn something, or are learning something new right now. I respect that a lot, many people, after leaving a formal education institution, just kind of stop learning.

It’s not that they don’t have a genuine interest in new ideas or things, it’s just they don’t make an effort to learn more about them or take up a new skill/language. Learning something new, especially as you get older, is very difficult. It’s even more difficult when there’s more on the line, such as when you’re trying to learn how to run your own business or get customers for the first time.

But, for those that do take it upon themselves to continue to learn, the type of learning most people do is very passive.

Average people read books, blog posts (kind of like this one, huh?), listen to audiobooks, sit in classrooms, etc.

I personally believe this is the worst way to learn anything, for a few reasons:

  • It’s passive: you’re not actively engaged in what you’re learning, thus you’re less likely to retain it.
  • It’s easy: We gravitate towards things that are easier, thus we fill our time with easy things, thus it leaves less time and energy for action. Time and energy are finite resources.
  • It feels good: it makes you “feel productive” without actually doing much. Instead of actually working on that new project or going to the gym for example, you read a book about working out. It feels just as productive, without it actually being productive.

So what’s the alternative?

Learning by doing.

Sometimes this is a workshop, sometimes this is using a simulator (if you’re trying to learn the stock market), sometimes this is speaking a new language to a native speaker, sometimes this is simply throwing yourself to the wolves and figuring it out without immersing yourself in a ton of information first.

Do you know when I retain the most information about anything I’m trying to learn? When I figure it out myself.

Usually, to figure something out myself, I need to be doing it.

I learned more about Facebook advertising by running my ecommerce business for 1 year than I have reading books, taking courses, and listening to podcasts for several years.

This is because a lot of things are contextual.

What you’re trying to learn by reading or sitting in a classroom can be very broad or even abstract.

When you get down to doing the new thing you’re trying to learn yourself, there are nuances and things you begin to pickup that you would never get from a book.

For some things, like learning to swim or learning to play guitar, you will probably always learn by doing.

For other things that have so much theory and discussion floated around about them, it’s easy to get caught up in passive learning.

These are things such as starting a business, working out, or even learning a new language.

Back to the Facebook ads point, if you stumbled across a course that was asking you to pay $1,000 to learn Facebook ads, I would much rather you spend that $1,000 on your own Facebook ads, learn and possibly fail, than learn passively by giving $1k to a random guru.

If money holds you back from doing, consider it the cost of your tuition. Whatever it will cost you to “do”, act as if that’s your tuition.

Don’t create any expectations of success, only create the expectation to learn. When you go into something, such as a new business venture, so focused on the outcome, it hurts your progress and capability to learn as you go.

I also feel like part of it is trying to be as prepared and well-equipped as possible, before making the plunge. But I honestly believe this is a great way to procrastinate instead of taking action. Instead, when learning, we should focus on less consumption of information and more implementation.

Information and consuming information still has its place in learning.

Don’t get me wrong, whenever I get stumped, plateau, or have down time, consuming information is extremely valuable. Much better than turning on Netflix or finding some other way to not use my time better. 

However, what we consume and how we consume it is important too. This is why I really like Blinkist, which summarizes the best business books out there for me, and gives me easily digestible book summaries that I can consume everyday by reading them or listening to them. This way, I spend less time consuming information, only get the best nuggets (Blinkist takes out the filler) and I can get back to working on my business.

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How to stop wasting time

When you think of productivity, you might picture a person who gets a lot of things done. When I think of productivity, I think of someone who doesn’t waste a lot of time.

I think there’s a difference in that.

Someone who gets a lot done can still waste a lot of time. They might be “on” for some of the day, but for the rest of the day, they’re consuming useless information, distracted by social media and their phones, and not being efficient with their time.

Being productive means being efficient with your time. It doesn’t mean you’re getting a lot done on your projects and outputting a lot of work. To me a productive day is efficiently using all the hours available to you, for all parts of your life that are important to you: health, family, relationships, fun, career, business, etc.

Think about just how many hours you waste a week that could be put towards one of the 5 life categories I mentioned above. Imagine how much better your life would be if you just spent an extra 3 hours a week on your health. Just an extra 2 hours a week on your wife or husband. Just an extra 1 hour a week on yourself and happiness.

So how do we do it? How do we stop wasting time?

Realize your time is valuable

I think the first step to stopping yourself from wasting time is realizing just how valuable your time, and time in general, is. Seems like common sense, right?

Then why does society undervalue time so much?

Don’t believe me?

Right now, you’re likely trading 5 days of your week for 2 days. Most people are working 5 days a week, to get 2 days of free time. Does that seem like a good deal to you? You give me $5 and I’ll give you $2 back. Not such a great deal, right?

And yet, billions of people trade most of their time, for a little bit of time back. It’s not rational.

Now, even if you love your job or career, and are not working for the weekend, you and many other people are looking forward to a retirement. That means you’re giving up most of your young, healthy years for a few years at the tail-end of your life, when you’re older and more tired. Tail-end years by the way, that aren’t guaranteed since you can die well before you even reach a point when you can comfortably retire.

Most people value money more than time, which is insane when we all stop and think about it.

Money is an infinite resource. Time is a finite resource.

Your time will end. My time will end. You and I can always make more money. We can never make more time. We undervalue time and overrate how much time we have.

Time = Money

If you’re someone who finds it hard to value time more than money, just think of your time as money. This perspective will really help you see how much your time wasting is actually costing you in dollars.

Think about how much time you waste per day. Actually write it down and self-audit your day.

Let’s say it’s 4 hours per day. This might include things like chores, cleaning, cooking, watching useless YouTube videos, spending time on social media, arguing with strangers online, watching crappy Netflix shows, doing a bad habit, whatever.

4 hours a day, 7 days a week, that’s 28 hours a week which is 1456 hours a year.

Now, assign a dollar value to your time. How much do you think your time is worth?

Not sure? Think about what your employer pays you for your time. Or better yet, look at the high value tasks you could be doing (working on business, freelancing, selling something, etc) and guess how much that is worth if you were to pay yourself.

Let’s even undervalue ourselves. Let’s say our time is worth $20 an hour. Realistically, if you’re reading this blog, or you’re a business owner, it’s more like $50, $100, or even more. But, so I don’t look like I’m inflating numbers, let’s say our time is worth $20 an hour.

Doing the math, that means I’m wasting $29,120 a year.

Want something even more tangible? If you freelanced on the side (writing, design, editing, virtual assistant, whatever) and kept your freelancing hustle to 28 hours a week, and charged your clients $20/hr (super low-end), you could add an additional $29k a year to your salary.

I honestly believe this is worst case scenario, too. I truly believe people are wasting much more time, and thus money, than this.

Buy back your wasted time

Interestingly enough, money is a very valuable tool when it comes to time. Money allows you to buy time.

Think about how many things we do everyday that can be outsourced to someone else, to save us time. Cooking, car/home repair, cleaning, driving, chores, etc.

Now, again, think about how much your time is worth. If you’re working on a high value task, that is worth to you $100/hr, and you can outsource a 1 hour chore for $100, that seems worth it to me. You break even on your money and you gain an hour back to invest into your high value tasks which can potentially pay dividends down the road, especially if it’s working on a business.

When we budget our income, we sometimes think about it as dividing our money into expenses/savings/fun.

But what if we took our income and divided it into expenses/saving/fun/time.

So not only are we investing money into our future/emergencies, investing money in ourselves, and paying our expenses, we’re investing some of our money into time.

Create a “time budget”. Pay for a meal plan and delivery service. Hire a cleaner. Have someone drive you or use public transit so you can be more productive during your commutes. These are just some ideas. Figure out what chores or low value tasks are taking up a lot of your precious time, even if it’s just a few hours a week, and outsource them.

I suggest trying this for a few weeks and see if it actually makes a difference. Is the money spent worth the time gained. Are you seeing a net positive outcome?

Now, when you outsource them, you want to ensure you actually spend the time you earned back productively. This doesn’t mean you spend the extra 2 hours a week on Netflix. So finally, we need to talk about discipline.

Discipline

This is the hard part.

It’s probably the section you we’re seeking advice on if the article’s headline caught your attention because you have a problem with wasting time.

The truth is, there’s no real solution to procrastination. There’s only suggestions that work for some people and don’t work for others. This is because most of this is an internal struggle, and usually a symptom of something else.

If you’re constantly reaching for your phone, logging into social media, and wasting time in general, it could be a symptom of something like boredom, lack of fulfillment, unhappiness, or even something more serious like addiction or depression.

I’m not a doctor and I’m not even going to attempt to touch those things, not even with a 10 foot pole.

All I can provide are some tactical things that worked for me. I’m not perfect, far from it, but I do think I’m better at this than most of the general population.

Make a schedule and stick to it. No, seriously. Actually make a schedule. Yes, I know you’ve heard this advice like a million times, but have you actually given it an honest attempt? Have you created a schedule and stuck with it to a T for a month? Have you tried scheduling time for even the most mundane tasks like chores?

Use Trello. It’s saved my life. Otherwise, paper or pen or whatever tool you prefer is fine, as long as it’s easily accessible.

In the beginning, be very strict. As you get used to the routine and scheduling your entire day, relax and become more flexible. It’s a good practice in the beginning when trying to get used to a schedule, to follow it closely.

Eliminate distractions and go cold turkey. Most people don’t have a lot of willpower or discipline. This is why I recommend taking the extreme route and doing things that prevent you from procrastinating or wasting time in the first place.

The first thing is delete social media apps off of your phone. How many times have you picked up your phone without even thinking much about it, and tapped the Facebook app? It’s habitual and it’s done without thinking or realizing what you’re doing. It’s like we’ve become zombies.

To stop this, and also catch yourself trying to do this, delete the social media apps off of your phone to force yourself to use a browser or desktop.

Better yet, cut out social media entirely.

Two Chrome Extensions I love are Facebook Eradicator and Distraction-Free YouTube. I also recommend Don’t Visit – Block Sites to simply block social media and distraction sites altogether.

Wherever you catch yourself wasting time, take the steps to eliminate or limit how much access you have to these time wasters.

For myself, it was social media. I don’t have a single social media app on my phone. Not only did I find the information I was consuming useless and affecting my mood, it was robbing me of my time.

Take back control

Ultimately, what this all boils down to, is you want to take back control of your time and your life.

If you feel like you’ve been living on auto-pilot, and kind of just floating through life, I really believe some of the concepts talked about, like treating your time as money, and setting a strict schedule, can help you take back control.

It’s not easy. You will relapse. But if you’re struggling with this, it’s worth it to put in the effort, even if you struggle.

If you’re bored and want to use your time more wisely, I recommend checking out Blinkist. Blinkist takes business, productivity, and personal development books, and summarizes them into easy-digestible audio or text summaries. This not only saves you time (reading a lot of books takes a lot of time), it’s a productive way to spend down time or free time.

If you have any actionable or tactical tips you’d like to share on stopping time wasting, comment below. I’d love to read some.

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Master Planning: Creating an Ultimate Goal and Grand Strategy for Your Life and Business

While we know that goals can be a waste of time, and simply wishful thinking without a plan and action, knowing what you want, with complete clarity, is very important.

I’m talking about long-term.

Not the goal for today, tomorrow, next week, or even this year. I’m talking about your ultimate goal.

This goal could be something you’re looking to achieve in 5, 10 or even 20 years from now. Usually, it’s something like “retire early at age 40” or “build a school for kids in Uganda”. It might even be something more ambitious such as “become the president of the United States”.

Having vision of your long-term goal for yourself, makes short-term goal setting and planning a lot easier. It also allows you to pick your battles a lot better.

If you have complete clarity and focus, you’ll know what to say “yes” and “no” to. You’ll avoid timewasters, you’ll consume less useless information, and avoid getting caught up in things that ultimately don’t matter or align with your ultimate goal. You’ll know what you should be working on. You’ll know what skills you’ll need to learn and develop. You’ll know who you should be friends with and what groups to network within.

A master plan contains two parts: your ultimate goal which details exactly what you want down the line, and how it will happen, and your master plan contains your grand strategy, which outlines what you will need to do, learn, and focus on to get you to your ultimate goal.

Setting Your Ultimate Goal

This is the tough part.

Some people set an ultimate goal so boring, that they aren’t motivated enough to even follow through on it for years, or remember it after a few months. Make sure your goal is ambitious.

Other people set an ultimate goal so vague, that it doesn’t help them focus. For example, “I want to be rich” is too vague. Even “retire early at age 40”, my earlier example, is not specific or clear enough. A more clear version of this goal would be:

Achieve financial freedom: Have $2mill or more, saved and invested, to retire early by age 40 and live off of interest (appr. $5,000/mo)

Lastly, most people set a goal that’s too ambitious and not grounded enough in reality. This causes people to get really excited at first, but then quickly discouraged at the first sign of a roadblock.

You should only have one ultimate goal. Resist the temptation to over complicate this part. Again, we want to be focused. Having a single ultimate goal that we have a laser focus on for years, will also force us to create sub-goals along the way, that work to get us to our ultimate goal.

It also needs to be well thought out and well written. Take as much time as you need to, to figure out what your ultimate goal is. Also, have it somewhere that you can always easily revisit it, read it, and revise it. Mine is within a document on my Google Drive called “Master Plan”. The first paragraph is my ultimate goal, and the rest that follows is my grand strategy.

If you’re not sure what your ultimate goal should be, look at your current skills and interests, and look at what you’re most drawn to. That will provide you clues. Think about what will bring you the most happiness.

It’s okay to get selfish here. You’re the only one who will know your ultimate goal, so save yourself from trying to appear virtuous or righteous. Focusing on yourself can allow you to later help your friends, family or a cause you truly care about.

Also, to add to the last point, you should be the only one that knows your ultimate goal and overall master plan. There are studies that show telling people your goals subconsciously makes you feel like you’ve achieved them, which will lower our will power to follow through. But perhaps, more importantly, hold your cards close to your chest. People may try to discourage you, sabotage you, or begin to be jealous of you. It doesn’t help you to tell everyone what you’re trying to ultimately accomplish, unless it is absolutely certain they can help you get there.

Grand Strategy

Once you know what you want, you’re able to further develop your “master plan”.

Our master plan not only contains our ultimate goal, but it lays out our grand strategy.

What are the things you need to know, what are the things you need to focus on and what do you need to do to get you to where you want to be? How will you do it? What are the steps to get there? What is the timeline? 

If your plan is to retire early and achieve financial independence, what kind of business do you need to build? How will you built it? What do you need to learn? Who do you need to know?

Now, we’re beginning to reverse engineer our goal.

Our grand strategy to achieve our ultimate goal will also touch other parts of our lives. Even though in this case it’s a business goal, how will our master plan affect our health? Relationships? Current career? Hobbies? Family?

This means we need to determine our grand strategy for each life category, to ensure it helps us reach our ultimate goal.

For example, I might focus on hobbies, or learn new hobbies, that will help me build the kind of business I need to build to achieve financial Independence.

I might focus on the career path at my current job that will provide me the skills and network to achieve this ultimate goal.

I might build closer relationships with certain friends, I might focus on my health more so I have more energy to work on building this business, etcetera. Hopefully, you get what I’m trying to get at.

With our ultimate goal, and our grand strategy to get there, suddenly everything else that’s important in our life gains more clarity as well.

Master Plan

Your master plan now allows you to calculate and plot ahead of everyone else around you. While everyone else gets caught up in things that ultimately don’t really matter (since they’re not focused), you can look beyond the moment and concentrate on what you want to achieve.

Every action you take should be a part of your grand strategy and ultimate goal.

You’re no longer thinking in terms of individual projects or events in your life, but of a master plan.

Remember to stay the course and don’t be impulsive when it comes to decisions in your life. Take the time to ensure that every decision you make, big and small, aligns with your grand strategy and moves you to your ultimate goal.

Now that you know what you will need to learn, focus on, and what skills to develop, I highly recommend finding the books and information you need. Blinkist is what I use and recommend. It allows me to consume information quickly, that way I can spend more time on action. Blinkist takes the best books out there, and creates easily digestible audio and text summaries of them. Their library is huge and constantly growing, so there’s likely to be several books you could consume within a few hours to give you a head start.

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Why Setting Goals Might Be a Waste of Time and What to Do Instead

Goal setting has become the standard practice before beginning any new venture. Before we start working out, we set a goal for how much weight we want to lose or gain. Before starting a business, we set a goal for how much we want to make. Before starting school, we set a goal for the grades we want to achieve.

I think while the intentions are good, they’re not actionable. Having a goal that is achieve X by Y is essentially saying “I hope” or “I wish”. I used to make it my routine to regularly set goals for myself.

Every week, month, and year I set goals. I would set health goals, relationship goals, professional goals and personal goals. And you know what? I achieved most of them, most of the time. This is not to brag but it’s to say that goal-setting wasn’t a complete waste. However, a lot of it was achieved subconsciously. Try as I might, it was difficult to constantly remind myself of my goals. Even though they were clear, they weren’t actionable.

They didn’t tell me “how“.

Action plans

A goal without a plan is just a wish. – Larry Elder

So instead of setting goals, I set action plans. I laid out detailed plans and steps I would need to take to achieve what I wanted. Instead of just saying “I want to increase my store’s revenue by 10% by the end of the month” (an arbitrary and random target) I would reverse engineer what it would take to increase my revenue by 10% in a month, and begin creating an action plan to get me there.

Suddenly, it became SO MUCH more clear to me what I needed to do and what I actually wanted. In fact, while setting goals for myself got me excited, setting action plans got me confident in what I could achieve! This is a much better feeling emotionally. Excitement eventually wanes, and it sets you up for disappointment, since you setup high expectations. Confidence is a tool that can help you get to where you want to be.

Does this take more time and effort to do? Absolutely. Setting goals for yourself won’t take much time. Reverse engineering and laying out a plan of attack takes time. 

Do we ditch goals altogether?

So do we just stop setting goals altogether?

Not exactly.

If you’re not clear on what you want, goal setting can still be very useful. It’s a tool that allows you to brainstorm and figure out what it is you actually want. However, if goal setting is just a reminder for you, or a way to make you feel better or more productive, it might be a waste of time.

How to reverse engineer your goals into plans

Every month or quarter, create an action plan for every area of your life you’re looking to improve or grow.

To come up with the plan, work backwards. Take where you want to be, and reverse engineer it.

For example: I want to lose 10 pounds of fat in 3 months.

Okay, how many total calories is 10 pounds of fat? 35,000.

Okay, that means in 3 months, I need to net lose 35,000 calories. That’s roughly 2,900 calories a week, if I want to lose it in 3 months.

Okay, what can I do to lose 2,900 calories a week? How many days of exercise is that? How much exercise? What exercise? What am I eating now? How much less do I need to eat of that? Do I need to eat differently? And so on.

Now I’m beginning to formulate an actual plan instead of creating a target (despite how specific it may be) and vaguely work towards it.

Set a plan for your life

Set a plan for what you want. Goals are just reminders of what you want, plans tell you how to actually get there.

Successful people aren’t successful because they simply set goals on a regular basis. It’s because they know how they will get there.

A plan helps us achieve this.

Want something actionable? If you already have goals, take them, and create a plan to achieve that goal. Be super-specific. Even if you’re unsure on the “how”, it will force you to get creative or do research.

Take your professional life, personal life, business, health, and relationships and decide what you ultimately want from each, if you don’t know already. From here, you can create a plan. Take an entire evening or afternoon to do this if you need to. It will benefit you so much to begin to have clarity on the “how” instead of just the “what” and “why”.

If you need more resources to help you plan, there are a lot of great books out there that dive deeper on strategic planning and gaining clarity on your goals. Blinkist takes popular self-improvement and business books, and condenses them into short and easy to digest summaries of all the best points. Skip the fluff and get the nuggets quickly from some of the best books out there on goal setting and taking action.

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How to Join The “1 %”

In 2011, Occupy Wall Street was a thing. It brought “we are the 99%” into the modern vernacular. Since then, there has been a popular perception in the west that if you’re not making millions of dollars, you’re part of the 99% which all the rich bankers and fat cats are part of the 1%.

The reality, however, is that the people who claim to be part of the 99%, are actually part of the 1%.

According to Global Rich List, if you make $32,000 a year or more in the United States, you make more money than 99% of the world. That’s over $15 an hour. A receptionist or mover can earn that much with a little less than a high school diploma.

If you’re reading this, you’re likely already part of that 1%. You’re likely richer than most of the world if you’re reading this in the United States or another first-world country.

However, I don’t want to drill any further on this. This article is not meant to be political. It’s not even about making money, necessarily. But, as a result of joining the 1%, it can have a direct and in-direct positive impact on your wealth and income. But we’ll get to that later.

The real 1% you should be striving to join is the 1% I want to talk about in this article, and that is the core of this blog. The 1% I want to talk about produces more than they consume.

This 1% of the population not only puts more into the world than they take out, they’re usually happier, more successful, more fulfilled, richer in time and money, healthier, and contribute more positively to society.

People like Elon Musk are indeed part of the 1% but not because of their wealth. It’s because they put out more into the world than they take. Whether it’s with their business, art, or knowledge.

To start, we want to do the things that only the 1% of the population does and do the things that the 99% won’t do. A general rule of thumb is to do the opposite of pop-society but I will get more specific than this.

Let’s dive deeper into the things the 1% do versus the 99%.

Accountability and problems

The easiest example of this is as I’ve shown earlier. A majority of people blame their problems on other things and people.

They will rally in the streets and on lawns, showing and shouting their frustration. They complain about a rigged game (and rightfully so) even though they don’t play the game.

A small minority of people take ownership of their problems and look to change the things that they can actually change. They look to be the change they want to see in the world. They focus on changing themselves first, before trying to change others or the unchangeable.

The 99% spend time finding people to blame for their problems and finding people to fix their problems. The 1% spend time focusing on parts of the problem they can control and work to solve the problem.

Consumption

This is a big one. This goes far beyond consumerism, but I’ll get to that, too.

Most of the world, especially in the west, consumes so much more than they create, produce, and put into the world. Food, information, media, entertainment, knowledge, products, and services are consumed in droves by the masses. Yet, so little of the population creates all these things.

99% of the population is consumed with consuming.

99% of the world listens to more music than it creates.

99% of the world reads more than it writes.

99% of the world buys more than it sells.

Instead of taking, produce. Create.

This also applies to productivity. The 1% have tremendous output. It’s the reason they’re happier, healthier, and richer in time and money. The 1% do the things that improve their relationships and make them happy. They do the work in the gym and kitchen that makes them healthier. The do the work that builds their business or project that earns them money and buys them time.

Time

The 99% spend their money on products, services and experiences. Again, playing into consumerism. The 1% spend their money on things that buy them more time. Whether that’s outsourcing parts of their life, or putting their money into an investment that allows them to work less, the 1% understand that money is simply a tool to live more freely and on their own terms.

Consumerism (owning things, paying for experiences) ends up owning you. Bad debt and things that take up space and make you unhappier overall.

Another thing the 99% do is value money over their time. It’s one of the weirdest conventional things we see.

The 99% will wait hours in line to save a few bucks.

The 99% will wait hours to be seated at a restaurant to try some over-hyped food.

The 99% will watch commercials or ads instead of paying to have them removed.

The 99% use their time to save money from outsourcing chores and work.

The 99% trades their time for money and over values earned income. The 1% values residual, portfolio, and passive income. The 1% understand time is a finite resource that you can never get back. Money is an infinite resource that you can always create more of.

Information

The reason 24-hour news cycles exist is because there’s a demand for it. The 99% loves the “news”. Whether it’s celebrity gossip, war, tragedy, or sensationalism, it’s gobbled-up.

Not only that, the amount of time people spend on these news sites, or Reddit, or social media is disproportional to the time they could be spending on much more productive and healthier tasks.

The 1% consume very little information, if any at all, unless it pertains to their success, happiness, and/or fulfillment. I don’t check any social media news feeds and block all of that with Chrome extensions. The only reason the 1% might own a social media account is to grow their business.

A low information diet is the best approach to this.

“Good” information, such as education and self-improvement/business books can be abused, too. The 99% use education and information as a form of procrastination.

Instead of starting their workout routine today, they instead spend several days finding the “perfect” routine before losing motivation and never seeing the inside of a gym.

Instead of working on your business or project, you spend days reading articles and books without ever applying what you learn.

Join the 1%

It’s the whole idea of this blog and the one thing you must attach yourself to before anything else if you want anything in life.

If you do the same things as most people (99%) expect to get the results that most people have: unhappiness, regret, bad health, poor, unintelligent, uneducated, unmotivated, cynical, defeatist, and overall: average.

So turn off the Netflix, delete the social media, start a business, eat healthier, start doing the things most people won’t do, and you’ll be a whole lot more fulfilled, happier, and successful.

Instead of consuming information that makes you feel good, join the 1% that consume useful, helpful, and productive information. Blinkist is what I use and recommend. It allows me to consume information quickly, that way I can spend more time on action. Blinkist takes the best books out there, and creates easily digestible audio and text summaries of them. Their library is huge and constantly growing, so there’s likely to be several books you could consume within a few hours to give you a head start.

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Facebook Ads for Ecommerce: 5 Retargeting Ads That Are Crushing It for Me

In a final post of this series of Facebook Ads for Ecommerce, I wanted to share my best retargeting ads that have been a large source of revenue for my store. This post will share less about what the ads say and offer (I actually don’t think that is very important for retargeting) and more about the segment of potential customers I’m trying to reach, as well as why they work.

Before we get started, I highly recommend you check out the other posts in this series, before reading this one, if you want to get the full picture on how I use Facebook Ads to grow my business and drive most sales.

It’s worth noting that right now, my budget ratio for retargeting ads to target ads is about 20/80. I don’t know if this is the magic number or even what experts recommend, but it’s what has worked well for me. It might be high compared to most other campaigns I’ve seen, but a lot of what I’m doing is direct-response marketing. This means, a lot of clicking-through to see the sexy offer but a lot of drop-off too. This is not to say my conversion rate is low (it’s very high on my store!), it’s just I get a lot of traffic to justify a higher retargeting budget.

Dynamic product ads

Dynamic product ads retarget visitors with the last product they looked at before leaving your store. That’s why it’s dynamic. Instead of retargeting an audience with a static ad, the ad they’re shown is unique to them and contains the last product they viewed on your store. It’s a great place to offer a discount or coupon to help make their buying decision easier.

How to create it: I’ve found the easiest way to create these types of ads in Shopify, is to use an app such as Shoelace. You can certainly do it yourself and save a few bucks a week, if you wanted to. To do it yourself, upload your product catalog to Facebook. Shopify makes this easy with several apps. Create a new campaign with the objective being Product catalog sales. Under the Ad Set, and Audience, choose Viewed or Added to Cart But Not Purchased. I like to do in the last 14 days. 

Add to cart

My store gets A LOT of Add to Carts. Customers will add products to their cart and simply leave my store. Most don’t initiate checkout, and a majority never fill out an email in checkout to allow me to send abandoned cart emails. This is where Facebook can work its magic and show ads to customers that show intent but leave the site. Maybe they didn’t have time to complete their purchase or they were on a mobile device. Whatever the reason, I want to remind these customers.

How to create it: Upload your product catalog to Facebook. Shopify makes this easy with several apps. Create a new campaign with the objective being Product catalog sales. Under the Ad Set, and Audience, choose Added to Cart But Not Purchased. I like to do in the last 14 days. 

Blog readers

If you’re getting a lot of organic traffic to blog posts, a great idea is to retarget these visitors with your best-selling products. A lot of visitors will find your posts organically, read the content, then leave without ever knowing your store exists. However, if you sell relevant products, it’s a great audience to target.

How to create it: Create a custom audience for visitors of your blog, usually, for those that visit a link that contains /blog/. Create an ad that targets this custom audience. Carousel ads showing off various products has worked well for me.

Engaged with page but didn’t view content

Most of my ads get a ton of engagement. People tag their friends, like the post, but never actually click the link in the ad. This is a massive audience I have the opportunity to retarget and show other offers to.

How to create it: Create a custom audience for those that have engaged with your page. Also create a custom audience for those that have visited your website in the last 180 days. You’ll want to EXCLUDE this audience. This way, only people who have engaged with your Page but NOT visited your store will see this ad. As for the ad itself, it’s a carousel ad that shows off my best-selling products. 

Abandoned cart

Unlike retargeting visitors that add to cart, this retargets visitors that have initiated checkout but abandoned their cart. I’ve only started testing this, as I’ve let emails handle my abandoned carts, but this is a good retargeting segment to test on Facebook.

How to create it: Create a custom audience for Initiate Checkout conversions and a custom audience for Purchase conversions. Upload your product catalog to Facebook. Shopify makes this easy with several apps. Create a new campaign with the objective being Custom Combination. Target Initiate Checkout and exclude Purchase. 

I recommend starting with Dynamic Product Ads first, if you don’t have any retargeting ads going in Facebook yet. It’s probably the best place to start, to begin recovering some of your ad spend on other campaigns, or simply dipping your toe into Facebook ads.

The more traffic you get, the better they work. Retargeting ads aren’t magic but you will find they may be the highest ROI campaigns you run. However, if you’re running cold traffic ads, it’s important to remember they get some of the credit for bringing that traffic to your store in the first place to be retargeted. That’s why it’s so important to learn about first-click attribution and see which ad customers came from, before converting after clicking your retargeting ad.

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