Today, I’m really happy to have my fellow Asian compatriot Thanh Pham on the show.
Thanh runs the popular site AsianEfficiency.com where he teaches others how to be more productive with their time.
He is considered to be one of the top thought leaders in the productivity industry and he has been featured in Fast Company, Inc.com, Forbes, Huffington Post, and The Globe & Mail.
In today’s episode, we uncover the lost Asian secrets of productivity.
What You’ll Learn
- Productivity tips on how to manage your inbox
- How Asian Efficiency gets its traffic
- How AsianEfficiency.com makes its money
- Top productivity tips for small business owners
- The Pomodoro technique
Other Resources And Books
Klaviyo.com – Klaviyo is the email marketing platform that I personally use for my ecommerce store. Created specifically for ecommerce, it is the best email marketing provider that I’ve used to date. Click here and try Klaviyo for FREE.
Privy.com – Privy is my tool of choice when it comes to gathering email subscribers for my ecommerce store. They offer easy to use email capture, exit intent, and website targeting tools that turn more visitors into email subscribers and buyers. With both free and paid versions, Privy fits into any budget. Click here and get 15% OFF towards your account.
Avalara.com – Handling sales tax is complicated. Fortunately, Avalara simplifies sales tax with real-time tax rate calculations and automatic return filing. And the best part is that Avalara already integrates with your existing accounting, e-commerce and marketplaces like Amazon, so it’s super easy to setup. Click here and get a FREE TRIAL.
SellersSummit.com – The ultimate ecommerce learning conference! Unlike other events that focus on inspirational stories and high level BS, the Sellers Summit is a curriculum based conference where you will leave with practical and actionable strategies specifically for an ecommerce business. Click here and get your ticket now before it sells out.
Steve: You’re listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job podcast, the place where I bring on successful bootstrap business owners, and delve deeply into the strategies they use to grow their businesses. But today, I’m happy to have Thanh Pham on the show, and Thanh runs the popular site asianefficiency.com where he spreads the long-lost secrets of productivity from the asian culture. Do not miss this one.
But before we begin, I want to thank Klaviyo for sponsoring this episode, whether you’re just getting your business off the ground or looking for new ways to scale, Klaviyo offers fast, simple, and repeatable ways to grow. And with Klaviyo you can personalize your marketing, build your customer relationships, and automate your online sales. And it is now easier than ever to create amazing email and advertising experiences. Now I want to talk about Klaviyo’s new entrepreneur growth guide, packed with must read blog post, case studies, and getting started content. This guide will help you prioritize what to do next for maximum revenue growth. Now moving to a new marketing platform can be intimidating, but Klaviyo helps you get up and growing fast with proven technology and countless support resources. Now I encourage you to check out this free content now over at klaviyo.com/mywife. Once again that is K-L-A-V-I-Y-O.com/my wife.
I also want to give a shout-out to Privy who is also a sponsor of the show. Privy is a tool that I use to build my email list for both my blog and my online store. Now, what is Privy do, well Privy is an email list growth platform and they manage all my email capture forms. And I use Privy hand in hand with my email marketing provider. Now, there are a bunch of companies out there that will manage your email capture forms, but I like Privy because they specialize in e-commerce. And right now, I’m using privy to display a cool Wheel of Fortune pop-up. Basically, user gives your email for a chance to win valuable prizes in our store and customers love the gamification aspect of this and when I implemented this form, email signups increased by a hundred thirty one percent. I’m also using their new cart saver pop-up feature as well to recover abandoned carts. So bottom line, privy allows me to turn visitors into email subscribers, which I then feed to my email provider to close the sale. So, head on over to preview.com/steve and try it for free. And if you decide you need some of the more advanced features, use coupon code MWQHJ for 15% off. Once again, that’s P-R-I-V-Y.com/steve. Now on to the show.
Intro: Welcome to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast. We will teach you how to create a business that suits your lifestyle so you can spend more time with your family and focus on doing the things that you love. Here’s your host Steve Chou!
Steve: Welcome to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast. Today I’m really happy to have my fellow Asian compatriot Thanh Phan on the show. Now Thanh is someone who I met at Billy Murphy’s mancation and we’ve hung out on several other occasions, including the men potential conference a couple of weeks ago. Now Thanh runs the popular site asianefficiency.com where he teaches others how to be more productive with their time. And he is considered to be one of the top thought leaders in the productivity industry and he has been featured in Fast Company, Inc.com, Forbes, Huffington Post, and the Globe and Mail and in today’s episode, we are going to uncover the Lost Asian Secrets of Productivity and with that welcome to show Thanh. How you doing today, man?
Thanh: Hey Steve. I’m glad to be here and thanks for having me.
Steve: So Thanh, we both turned 13. We signed a solemn oath to never reveal the Lost Art of Asian efficiency to the mundane world yet here you are spraying the hidden secrets of our culture to the masses. Please explain yourself. And what caused you to sell out.
Thanh: Hehehe well, thank you for introducing me in a way. Uhm yeah, I think you know in our culture we have this secret that I think everybody would benefit from. So I thought, “Why not let it out and share with everybody and not give the Germans so much credit for their efficiency.” And so, I thought let’s launch asianefficiency.com and spread the message. But it all seriousness, really started off as a passion project for me back in 2011. I was trying to figure out how to be more productive at my first job and I was so behind at work. I was losing clients. I was just so overwhelmed. I started to gain a lot of weight from all the stress and such and so I start to figure out okay, I need to be more productive because like behind and everything.
So, let’s read some books and let’s go to a bunch of seminars. And so, I started to document everything I learned and throughout the whole process in one year was able to read 35 books, listen to 21 audiobooks and drop the excess of 25 pounds or so that I gained from being so stressed out about my job. And so, people kept asking me all the time “Thanh, how did you do this?” “What did you learn?” Like, how should I go about this and I started documenting everything on asianefficiency.com which kind of started off as a joke and now is a full-time business for me. And so, I’m super fortunate to be able to do what I love and help people.
Steve: So, it’s funny as you learn how to be productive not at work, right? But with your own stuff.
Thanh: Yeah, I was just trying to figure out like, okay, if I’m like a few weeks behind at work. What do I need to do to change my life there? And then I started to learn all these different things and then I started to apply that to my own life as well. And so, as you gain control of your life you get more time you start to think, “Okay, what should I do with this time?” And I’ve always been somebody who’s really interested in personal development and developing myself. And so, I started to read more books and listen to more audiobooks and just trying to figure out like, okay, how do I get the most out of my life? And that is always been my guiding compass to say, “Okay, let’s maximize my life as much as possible.”
Steve: So how many hours do you work? Because I always see you doing two things shopping and traveling just curious right now in your current lifestyle.
Thanh: Hehe well, fair enough. I probably work anywhere between like 30-35 hours a week I want to say? Definitely few years ago. It was more in the 60s and 70s, so I definitely cut back a lot and I remember meeting you a few years ago and we were having this discussion was actually a Billy saying that you mentioned at the beginning and I remember you saying how, how little you worked and I thought that was really amazing and I was at that time trying to transition into that myself as well and it was the whole idea of something that you can have like set off the cuff as well. It’s like you’re basically trying to focus for happiness. Right? Like what’s the point of making more money if you’re you know, if that’s not going to make you that much happier, right? And you want to spend more time with your family or kids and only do the things that you love and I think that’s one of the most beautiful things that we can discover in life is that it’s not all the time about working harder, making more money, but also actually enjoying our lives throughout the journey and process as well.
Steve: Absolutely and we both know that you love Louis, right? So, Thanh…
Thanh: I think that’s partly an Asian thing.
Steve: So, before we get to the productivity section of this interview, I am actually curious how you built up your site. So, first off, we talked about it earlier. It is a seven-figure site. So, you make seven figures off of it. And where do you actually get your traffic from?
Thanh: We got most of our traffic from organic. So, we started back in 2011 and we just started to post once a week. And at the time I was having a partner alongside of me to help me with that and I said, “Okay, let’s publish something once a week and just share our message.” So, we posted every single Tuesday and over time, it just got so much traffic and traction that all the people than our friends and family started to email us and ask questions and we just kept this publishing schedule over the last eight years now. So, we’ve never missed a Tuesday ever from just publishing that over the last eight years has garnered so much organic traffic that, that’s pretty much our main source right now.
Thanh: And then over the last two to three years or so we started adding Facebook on top of that. Where we basically set aside a budget every single month and just spend that on look-a-like audience to kind of like get exposure to new people and then we run a lot of targeting on top of that as well. And so, that’s our main traffic source right now.
Steve: What’s funny about your story is that it’s exactly how I got started. I started publishing once a week and I’ve done it for the past nine years now, I should say? And yeah, just traffic just builds over time and the majority of my traffic is through search as well. So ha-ha, I want to ask you, are you very deliberate in what you write about? Or is it just kind of off the cuff? Whatever you think it’s going to be interesting.
Thanh: So, we have a quarterly publishing schedule so we know every single quarter ahead of time. What podcast is going out, which blog post is going out and over the years, we kind of tweaked it where we definitely started off by saying, “Oh, let me just write whatever I want to write about.” And that was completely fine. But, as our audience grew and we kind of got to know better who audience was what they wanted, what they needed, and then also matching that with the several products that we have nowadays. We are more strategic now in terms of, what content we publish, when it goes out, and what we should write about. So now we have our quarterly publishing schedule so we know for example, okay, if we want to launch this product on this month, we should probably write about that particular topic in this week. And this week leading up to the launch for example, so it’s a little bit more strategic now and we try to mix it in kind of like own accord off weeks where we just want to write whatever we want to write about. So, it’s still you know is fun at the same time while also having strategic content in place.
Steve: I guess what I was trying to ask was do you do and do you write your posts to actually target specific search terms?
Thanh: So, I would say tiny part of it. We know we want to rank for five to six keywords and we have like specific landing pages where we try to rank them and try to target them. And so, when we write publishing or and publish blog posts about certain keywords, we will try to obviously redirect all that traffic to the main landing pages and such. But for the most part, we really focus on solving problems. And so, we have this huge community called The Dojo where we have tons of people in there and we have a private forum and I’m talking to customers like five hours a week. So, I’m always in the “Marketplace”. So, I have an idea of what people are dealing with, what kind of struggles are having. I also review customer service tickets every now and then to kind of see what’s going on there and what people are dealing with and so I always have a pulse of what’s going on and that gives me a lot of ideas and inspiration to say “hey, this is a product we should create this is type of content we should write”. And then once we have that kind of like topic figure it out, then we will look for keywords to kind of match with that. So it’s kind of almost like an afterthought not the other way around where hey let’s try to rank for a certain keyword and then published content around that.
Steve: Okay, and you mentioned a bunch of things. There are private Community. Is that on Facebook or is that your own private Forum now.
Thanh: We have a private Forum. I think it runs on in vision boards. And yeah, we’ve been doing that for the last four years now.
Steve: Interesting. So what’s the rationale of doing in there as opposed to like Facebook groups? For example.
Thanh: We actually started off on Facebook and I think it’s mostly specific to our audience where most of my audience hates Facebook because they want to be more productive and going on Facebook as well.
Steve: That’s true. Yeah, I didn’t think about that
Thanh: Productive for them. So they all said to us. Hey, we hate Facebook, please move it away. And most of our audiences can go into code organized or they want to be organized. So they love the search function. They love to be able to revive old topics and look for stuff and we kind of realize that the form or having a private forum is the best thing for them.
Steve: Okay, and I actually, you know, I don’t even know the answer this how do you make money? Like, what do you sell exactly?
Thanh: Yeah, when people come to our website they can enroll in one of our courses. So we have about seven courses right now. Most of them are like anywhere between like fifty dollars to a thousand dollars. Hours and then we have a members area as well as our membership site for $49 a month or 350 a year.
Steve: So for the thousand-dollar course, for example, is that a high-touch course?
Thanh: Yes. It’s a high-touch course you work with a coach. So as soon as you enroll, you get a few sessions with a coach and then that coach will help you walk you through the program and kind of like help you stick to it. Make sure that you’re accountable for the things that you say you will do. So it’s a little more High touch and for people who want to have a little bit more personal attention. Where’s the other courses that are on the lower end. It’s all kind of like do-it-yourself go through it at your own pace and make it make it happen.
Steve: And how many people are employed by you right now?
Thanh: So right now we have about 12 people.
Steve: Oh, wow. Okay. So yeah actually have quite a few people and how many of those are coaches versus writers versus marketers?
Thanh: So coaches, we have two coaches and marketers. We have one marketer and then writers we have like four of them.
Thanh: Yeah, yeah.
Steve: And you mentioned earlier that you’ve branched into Facebook ads which I find kind of funny because people don’t want to be on Facebook and I guess the audience who aren’t productive yet are still on Facebook. But what is your ad strategy look like?
Thanh: Yeah. It’s actually really simple so I am of the mindset of okay, let’s publish amazing piece of content on our blog or have an amazing podcast and let’s share it with as many people as we can. So what we do is we will have a look-alike audience in Facebook of all of our customers and then say, hey, let’s target all of these people and just get them onto the website. So every time we publish a new blog post as long as we’re really proud of it, it should usually be published. And then also we want to send it out to as many people as we can. So we have a fixed budget every single month where we just say Hey, Let’s just get the word out there. It’s kind of like putting a billboard on the road and no it’s not. It doesn’t even matter how many options we get or how much traffic we got is really just like advertising in the traditional sense. Right? So we just want to get the word out there as much as possible. And then on top of that whatever traffic comes to that we will then retarget those people to then either join us on a live webinar or an evergreen webinar or a specific landing page where we try to give them some sort of lead magnets and get their name and information so we can follow up with them over email.
So the strategy is relatively simple, but it really just started off one thing at a time. I just said, hey, let’s start off with like five hundred dollars a month. So you just, you know, promote our blog post and then we just increase that budget over time. And then as soon as we start to get more traffic, you know, some people opted in some people didn’t and then on top of that we just added over time to say. Hey, let’s try to retarget everybody that came from Facebook and see if we can collect very name and email address as well. And then that is where we are today and we just continue to do that in just cycle that over and over and over again.
Steve: So you have you put out content?
Thanh: So we have a weekly podcast on Monday and then a blog post that goes out every Tuesday.
Steve: So terms of these ads does that imply then that you’re rotating out ads once per week?
Thanh: Yes and no. We sometimes we find a one of the ask just what just takes off right and you just never know which ad that is and if we see one ad just taking off then we just keep it running because you just what we’ve learned is you just never know which ad is going to really take off and the Beautiful Thing with Facebook is if an ad takes off a lot of people start to organically share it and then we’ll take a life, It takes a life of its own so you get a lot of traffic that way and so you’re not just limited to your own budget.
Steve: So these ads are just traffic ads?
Thanh: Yeah. Exactly. We just want to get people to the blog or to the podcast and just grow it that way and I’m not too concerned about how many people opt in or like take a specific action. It’s really just like hey, let’s get the word out. And as long as you have a profitable business in my opinion, that’s one of the best things you can spend your money on is just to get the word out.
Steve: What do you consider a good ad versus a bad ad I guess in terms of how much money you’re paying per click?
Thanh: Yeah, so I don’t even look at the like cost-per-click or anything like that like to me a good ad is when people are organically sharing the ad so that’s why we know the content is really good and it’s resonating and the ad itself is really good. So when people are organically sharing a ton of ads then I know OK that’s the thing that’s resonating. We should continue to publish that even more
Steve: What are certain guideline for like share percentage?
Thanh: No, like as we see like as long as we get over like 10 shares or something that’s probably something worthwhile continuing to maximize and optimize.
Thanh: So it’s really simple because the flip side is if nobody sharing this ad then the ad as probably not that great. And also if a lot of people are just like, you know skipping it or just not checking out the the post then we have that data. So we just try to continuously, you know evolved that strategy.
Steve: Okay. So basically it’s you looking at shares rather than likes and comments for the most part?
Thanh: Yeah, because I just know that the more people share this stuff the more it’s resonating and the more benefit we get as well, right so we know that the content is good. This is something that’s obviously very helpful. It makes certain people look good as well, right? Like a lot of people want to share stuff because it makes them look good. And so if we can accomplish these things with our ad and contents then I think that’s a winning strategy and then if you see that taking off, then it’s worthwhile to put in extra money in there because now, you know more and more people are going to come to the website.
Steve: So you mentioned you have seven courses and you do a lot of email marketing. Does that imply that you have seven different funnels that kind of funnel different products? Like how do you organize your email funnels?
Thanh: Yeah, so when people come to the site they can basically buy like three or four products. So we have like an evergreen webinar. We actually have two of them now so people can join one of them and then usually most of them funnel into the members area. So the membership site that we have and that’s really the main focus we want to get as many members as we can that’s kind of our strategy but sometimes people don’t want to subscribe to a subscription right away and sometimes they just want to buy something first and then decide later on to join the members area. And so we have a few lower ticket items that people can buy and then say hey, oh just this content is great. This has been really helpful. And then from there we try to get them into the members area or some higher ticket programs on the back end.
So it’s a very simple strategy in terms of like come to the site join the members area. Okay, if you’re not interested, That right now then you can buy one of our other lower ticket products kind of get some few quick wins. See that what we do actually works and as legitimate as well and it’s helpful. And then from there, you know, it’s up to you to decide like how you want to evolve, you know your own life and how you want to maximize your time.
Steve: How much is the members area cost?
Thanh: So right now it’s $49 a month or three hundred fifty dollars a year.
Steve: Okay. And then so how long is this sequence to get them to pay $50 a month?
Thanh: So the sequence that get them into the members area is right now, I believe like seven or eight months or something
Steve: a seven or eight month email funnel?
Thanh: Well, once people get on the campaign, you know, we will try to get them on the webinar.
Steve: I see.
Thanh: That’s the most effective strategy I find terms of getting people in the members area, but that campaign will keep running for eight months basically. So.
Steve: I se.
Thanh: It’s like an evergreen process. So some people you know are ready to jump in right away and some people it takes a few months to kind of, you know convince them to join. And so I also don’t know what the right length is, but we just found out that we have eight months of content that we can give them.
Thanh: And not every single email is like hey, you should join the webinar or hey, you should join the members area. Some of the emails are just like hey, here’s some useful contents for you to you know look into but it’s strategic in the sense that it’s hopefully getting them closer to joining the members area at some point.
Steve: And you mentioned you run webinars are those Auto webinars are those live webinars?
Thanh: So we have about to live webinars every single month that we do and then we have to automate a webinars as well. So the automated ones there on the website you can find them there when you join our email list, you’re going to get the opportunity to join one of them as well. So we have basically to “sales processes” going on all the time that people can join plus, you know, the email funnel itself and then the live webinar we do about twice a month as well to talk about specific topics something that’s little bit more up to date of what’s going on sort of in our industry and then also have a good time with people.
Steve: Are they all different content all the four webinars?
Thanh: Yes. Yep. So the to automated ones are completely different. They talk about very different topics. So for example one is more about habits. The other one is more about Focus. These are two things that we see in most people struggle with so we decide to make ever Evergreen webinars around that and then the live webinar is more about like, oh, let’s pick a topic every single month and then talk about that and it’s really just partly fun. But also partly just you know show people some of the advanced strategies that people can learn when they join the members area.
Steve: And those webinars that they funneling to the members area or specific classes?
Thanh: Most of them are for the members area
Thanh: Because the product that we really want most people that buy and join because once you become a member you also get access to all the other high ticket courses that we have as well. So it’s almost like a no-brainer.
Steve: It’s like a gateway drug. So to speak.
Thanh: Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
Steve: Okay and just curious. What is your turn right look like on the membership site and how do you keep people interested?
Thanh: Yeah. So one of the things I’ve learned is that you know, when you started off building courses, you sometimes have the mindset and or at least as was the case for me like this is an evergreen product. So let’s just build it and then just try to get as many people as we can and what I learned from the membership site is that it’s really evolving product. It just changes every single month in terms of like what we introduce what we take away and it’s like a product that is just constant evolving and improving. And when we first started off the average Troon in terms of Lifetime, Lifetime is the easier way to calculate.
Steve: Sure. Yeah.
Thanh: For you is roughly like seven months or so.
Thanh: So we find out that’s okay, on average when people join they stay for about seven months. Hence why the pricing is also annually at 350.
Thanh: For us, because we just know that okay, that’s the average price that people are willing to stay on for a while. And then from there is just making tweaks and opportunities to make it better. So we run sprints in our company. So we have like a scrum methodology in terms of how we run everything. So every two weeks we have like things we need to do like publishing content, you know recording a podcast and such but also we always try to add one or two things in there to improve the members area as well. So we always have like little tweaks and fixes that we introduced and a lot of that comes from the feedback that I get from either, you know talking to people that are in there or what we see are happening on the forum or we have a private slack as well. We kind of see what’s going on. There and then also from a customer success team where they are interacting with people and they’re getting you know bugs, bug fixes submitted to them as well. And so we try to like evolve and fix it all the time.
Steve: So let me ask you this. You mentioned your lifetime values about a 350 bucks. So why not charge like five hundred dollars and give them life time and have payment plans?
Thanh: Yeah. That’s the thing that we thought about as well. And the bury we ran into was like the whole price point, what people are willing to pay per month and then also per year as well. So we’ve done a lot of testing around that and we just found that like over 49. It was almost I wouldn’t say impossible but it was definitely more challenging to get people in versus, let’s say it’s like we saw no difference between 39 and 49 for example.
Steve: I see.
Thanh: And we started off at 29 that’s when we first started off like four years ago. And so we moved around to like 69 to 99 to 150. We’ve tried all sorts of different things and it seems like 49 is the sweet spot for us.
Thanh: And yeah, we also you know, anybody that’s listening you just never know until you test. And testing can also take a lot of time because you know, when you test a new price when you have two tests are going how long do they then stay on right? Because if you get somebody a 39 versus 49. if the turn rate is exactly the same then that’s great that you can charge $49. But sometimes you won’t know until you know, eight months later because our lifetime was about seven months. So we had to wait.
Steve: Right, yeah.
Thanh: Eight or nine months or 12 months sometimes to kind of see what’s going on there. So if anybody that’s listening right now, you haven’t run any tests yet. I would say, you know start sooner than later because there’s a big waiting game that has to happen.
Steve: in terms of lead Gen. Would you say that your podcast is more effective or your blog?
Thanh: Oh by far? It’s the blog.
Thanh: I think the Podcast, I always have a love-hate relationship with the podcast because I love the podcast, it’s engaging, it’s so intimate. People love the contents and it’s a great way to stay in touch with people. but as you probably have seen as well, It’s a terrible way for getting people to take action on something.
Thanh: Because the conversion of the so low from hey, I’m gonna make you this offer on the podcast and then actually seeing people take action on that compared to the download numbers is really low. So what we found is that the block is the most effective way of generating leads for us, but the podcast is the most effective way for keeping people in the members area.
So an interesting Insight that we’ve had is we had the members area before we had the podcast and what we found is that most members who are in there are podcast listeners and then also once we introduce the podcast we noticed that our turn rate went down. And this is before started introducing a new sort of fixes and changing the product and stuff. And so what we found from also talking to our members in such is that whether they admit it or not, they almost like subconsciously associate the podcast with being a member. And so, the more amazing content we put out when it comes to the podcast the longer at this stay on in our members area. And so what we found is that the pockets is a great retention tool for your members area. And so if you have a members area, I would highly encourage you to get as many members on the podcast because it’s just another channel to keep people excited and you know stay on top of mind and continue to be part of your community.
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Yeah, you know most of the students who sign up for my course say that they really started trusting me once they started listening to the podcast. Which is kind of why I asked that question, but in terms of tracking conversions, it is very difficult to do so, you basically have to ask.
Thanh: exactly yeah. You don’t know until you start talking to people and that is one of the reasons I spent about five hours a week just talking to either prospects or customers. So I always have an idea of like what’s going on? Why did they buy? You know, why did they decide to join us? Why did they decide to leave? So once you kind of start talking to people that’s the only way I found out that there was this relationship between people being a member and also listening to the podcast and so, you know, as you know, all of us have like internet businesses and we tend to shy away from talking
Steve: I know like talking to people. What’s that?
Thanh: exactly. What’s one of the most valuable things you can do and that’s one thing I took away from tending a couple scaling up workshops and they encourage all the time for CEOs or like business owners, like continuously talk to your customers because that’s where all the insights come from.
Steve: Do you do live sessions as part of this membership site on a regular basis?
Thanh: Yeah. So we have a monthly live coaching session that we do.
Thanh: So once a month we talk about a topic and we talk about industry news and that kind of stuff so people Always on top of things. Yeah.
Steve: Okay. Alright. So let’s switch gears a little bit now and talk about the Asian secrets of productivity. You probably get asked these questions a lot. So what would you say is your number one top productivity tip that you get asked about a lot for business in particular.
Thanh: Yeah, whether it’s business or personal I think the most important thing that you can do is whenever you start your day, tackle the most difficult task first. So whenever you look at your to do list as you’re starting your work day, pick the thing that you find most difficult to do or the thing that you will most likely procrastinate on. Because if you get that out of the way first, then you can go on with the rest of your day knowing that you got that done and then everything else that comes your way is relatively easy. So I’m going to copy this analogy that John the Cavalier share with me on my Instagram page because I share this tip with some people and he said well, you know the way I see it is I just climb, I climb a mountain every single morning and then I hang glide down for the rest of the day. And I thought those are really interesting analogy. And I feel that way too. Like if I get the most ugly thing out of the way first then everything else all my to do list looks really simple and easy to do. And I have confidence, I have momentum. And even if I don’t get anything else done, at least I got the hardest thing out of the way, so I still have a productive day.
Steve: What if that hard thing cannot be accomplished in a day and it’s more like a year-long study project?
Thanh: Yeah, when it comes to things like that, what I encourage people to do is to break it down as much as possible. Right? So let’s say you want to publish a book this year. Obviously, you’re not going to publish a book on one day, but what if you broke it down and say hey, I’m going to maybe write one chapter a month for example, right? And then every single week you could say, okay my goal every single week is to have a draft ready of Chapter and then every single day you can break that down to say. Hey, let’s let’s write at least for 50 minutes for example, or let’s write at least for 90 minutes or let’s write at least 1,000 words a day or something like that. So the key is if you have a big outcome or a project break it down to its smallest Parts as much as you can and just start there.
Steve: You know, what’s funny is tackling the hardest thing of the day. It’s actually a mental issue. Right? Most people want to just get some of the simpler stuff out of the way just so they can get those items off their checklist. So is there any ways of mentally preparing yourself to I mean, it’s easier to say hey, I’m going to tackle the most the hardest thing in the beginning of the day, but are there any mental ways to get over that hurdle?
Thanh: One strategy I find really useful is where you basically set a timer for yourself. So some people called the Pomodoro Technique. It’s like the most popular strategy out there. But it’s the idea of okay, if I’m going to tackle something and I have sometimes troubles getting started, what I find really useful and what a lot of people find useful is if you just commit to saying doing 15 minutes or 25 minutes or even just 30 minutes? If you set a timer for let’s say 15 minutes, you just say, okay, I’m just going to do this one thing and after 15 minutes I can stop. It’s usually good enough for people to commit to at least for that short period of time.
And the reason that works is because you give yourself an excuse or a reason to stop working after a while. And that is often times good enough for people to get started and just focus on one thing and often times, what you find is that as soon as the timer runs out you got oh man actually, you know what? I’m going to keep going because I’m in the groove right now. I have this momentum. And then often times people will just continue to work on the thing that they you know, didn’t want to do in the first place. So setting a timer really helps.
Steve: I see, your kind of tricking yourself into just getting started
Thanh: Exactly. So the language I usually coach people through is to say to yourself, “I will just do this, so I will just write a few hundred words” or “I will just write for 15 minutes and that’s it”. And so you’re essentially tricking your own brain to say, “Okay, I mean, I can do 15 minutes, right? I can do 25 minutes. That’s not a problem. And then after that I can do whatever I want”. But then often times you’ll find yourself in that groove to say “Oh man. I feel so good about myself now. I’m so glad I got started. Like I actually want to continue to work on this” and then oftentimes people will.
Steve: You know, this isn’t exactly the Pomodoro Technique, but I remember when I wanted to start my blog, I kept putting it off, kept putting it off, but then once I installed WordPress it became a lot easier because that just one main hurdle of having like the infrastructure in place allowed me to just start writing on a regular basis.
Thanh: Yeah, when it comes to getting started and procrastination and just getting things done, one big thing that just I hope people take away from this is, the more friction you removed from everything that easier it is for you to get things done. And often times, It’s not just about learning a new strategy or learning a new way of doing things. But sometimes it’s just about like how do you remove friction from your life? So for example, it’s way easier for me to get started when my desk is clear and it’s clean and tidy. Whereas, if there’s papers on there if there’s books on there, there’s like dishes on my desk as well. Then I’m not going to feel motivated to start working because it then I have to remove some stuff first. I have to get rid of some stuff before, before I can actually do the thing I’m good at. Right? So when I know for example the next day that I’m going to be writing and I need to be creative, I will actually put an effort the night before to clean my desk make sure everything is put away so that my future self when I wake up the next morning I can get started right away. So it’s just all about removing friction as much as you can.
Steve: And I imagine that applies to working out and that sort of thing as well, which is kind of why I moved all my work out equipment to the garage. I mean, there’s no excuse for me not to go in the garage every day.
Thanh: exactly. Like how do you make it inevitable and that’s kind of like what I teach people as well as like the inevitability mindset. Like, how do I make it inevitable for me to do this? So for example, if I want to work out? Yes, I can go to the gym downstairs or I could go to a gym that’s one block away from me. Right? Like how do we remove that friction? Because if you have to go to a gym that’s 50 minutes away and traffic, you know chances are you’re not going to go as often versus having a gym at home for example, right? So, how can we remove friction in our lives? And the more you start to look for opportunities to remove friction and getting rid of that the more you start to see that you can actually accomplish way more things.
Steve: I don’t know what you call this technique either. Maybe you can classify it. So I have a pull-up bar right outside the bathroom and before I can go to the bathroom, I have to do some Pull-Ups. So that’s just like another Fitness thing that I do.
Thanh: Yeah. I have the same thing. I have a pull-up bar in my bedroom that connects or transitions into the living room. So anytime I go to my bedroom. I have to do 5 pull-ups and that’s just.
Steve: Interesting. Okay.
Thanh: A commitment that I made for myself and you know, I could be an ugly pull up. It could be really good pull up. It doesn’t matter as long as I do five. You know, it’s my Integrity that I like to stick to, right? and that’s really important to me as well and something I teach clients as well, like, if you have integrity you do what you say you will do. you’re going to live, you know, authentically. And that’s the kind of person I want to be. And so, every time I do 5 pull-ups, you know, I’m living up to my own integrity and I want to stick to that and that’s why I am and that’s what I value. and so you know, pick a number that works for you, you know, if you have a pull-up bar, but it’s just the whole idea of like how I how can I stay with doing this and also have my word that I said I would do.
Thanh: just having Integrity in my life, you know.
Steve: That’s interesting. I would probably never go to the living room then. at least, you know with the bathroom. I gotta go to the bathroom. So, All right. So Thanh, I have I guess a personal problem. I want to talk to you about, like how do you manage your inbox? My inbox is crazy. I was hoping you’d provide some insights there.
Thanh: Sure. Well, we have one course that’s going to help you. It’s going to cost you $499.
Steve: Amazing. You know, 499 I don’t know Thanh. Sorry go on.
Thanh: So it’s called Escape Your Email, but the short version is there’s so many things you can do. One, is most people have no clue or no system for managing their email. it’s kind of assumes that everybody knows how to manage your email inbox, right? So some people do it from top to bottom, some people have to email inbox open all day long and there’s like hundreds of different strategies. And what I found most useful is setting aside, maybe two or three times a day to check your email for 30 minutes or less. Each time you check your email.
So if you can commit to just doing a 30-minute sessions of checking your email, if you do it twice a day, that’s one hour a day on email and then, and as soon as that timer goes off right for 30 minutes, then you can stop and you can continue to do other things. So this is one simple strategy I recommend for most people to do because most of my clients tend to have their email client open all day long, and then they easily get distracted, they feel like they’re on edge all the time. They can’t really focus because this email notification will always distract them and derail them. And that’s the last thing you really want. Right? So especially if you’re a business owner you need to have like Focus time and create stuff. The worst thing you can do is having your email client open next to you while you’re producing video course content or recording a podcast or whatever, right? So closing your email client as much as possible and then only checking it two or three times a day is the best thing you can do.
Steve: but if you do it that way email tends to pile up right? So do you just not let that bother you?
Thanh: Well, when you process your email, you can then kind of like prioritize right? what you want to tackle. And so whenever I check my email I try to get it done as much as I can but realistically that’s not always going to happen. Right? So for some weeks, it might be where I have more emails to process than others and that’s totally fine. As soon as I dive into my email inbox. I know I have 30 minutes and then I’ll just try to go through as many emails as I can. And I personally just want to spend less than an hour a day on my own email and I know this is going to be different for certain people. Right? Let’s say you work in customer service, for example, that’s obviously going to be different than somebody who is a sales person versus somebody who’s a marketer somebody who runs their own business. So my guideline is usually shoot forward an hour a day, but for some people might mean two hours or three hours, but what I don’t want you to do is to spent your whole day in your email inbox.
Steve: Yeah. Yeah. I have the opposite actually try not to spend much time at all in there and I have like a dedicated support desk for the important emails that I have to respond to any given day.
Thanh: Yeah, exactly. Yep.
Steve: So Thanh, let’s pretend that you were to start Asian efficiency all over again. What would you say are some of the most important aspects to this success of Asian efficiency that you would carry over if you were to start all over?
Thanh: Whoo, interesting question, I would say one concept that I would instill in others, is to show up consistently every single week. Whether that’s podcasting, blogging, doing a webinar. I think the key to our success was to show up every single week to publish something and that lets you, you know, lots of organic traffic and such but it was, you know, found it on the foundation of showing up every single week. So that’s one thing I would continue to do if I were to start all over again. The other thing I would say is, I wish I had done webinars much earlier. I was definitely late to the game when it comes to that. I think we started doing webinars and maybe like 2017? so not too long ago.
Steve: hmm mmm
Thanh: And Yeah, like we just seen that one people really love them, and to I think it’s one of the most effective strategies for selling. And then three, it can also help you generate more email subscribers and leads as well. And then four, if you make it Evergreen as well, you basically have a new sales person in your company working 24/7 for you. So yeah, definitely more webinar.
Steve: Can you comment on auto versus live and why you kind of combine both?
Thanh: Yeah so auto I think is great when you have an evergreen topic. So when it comes to productivity and procrastination is an evergreen topic how to focus is an evergreen topic. So for our particular industry, that’s great. And you know, it took a lot of live webinars to eventually make a really good Evergreen webinar. And so we want to give people the opportunity to sign up for this material when it is convenient for them because when we do them live we can only cater to one specific time. And so, we can’t cater to everybody. Whereas with Evergreen we have, you know, just in time webinars where you can sign up and then 15 minutes later get started or one minute later, depending when you sign up. But there’s also specific times as well.
So I like to think of it as like you can pick a time and place that works best for you to learn something really interesting and beneficial. and even if people don’t buy on the webinar, I’m still happy that people go through it because we just know that the information that’s in there is really helpful and beneficial to them. So even if they don’t buy, that’s totally fine. Because as long as we make that impact then that’s really good for us. And eventually, you know, the more people spent on webinars in terms of time, the closer they get to purchasing from you anyway, right? So we’ve also learned that for example, some people like to watch the same webinar like two or three times before they make a purchase and that’s totally fine too. Right? So, it’s really just a tool for us. You allow people to get educated become more familiar with us and then hopefully down the line bring them closer to making first purchase with us.
Steve: So in terms of the lives, I’m just curious why you haven’t doubled down on the Autos then maybe just narrowing it down to just one live webinar.
Thanh: Yeah, so we have the auto one’s going where we have like Facebook traffic sending, you know, to landing pages to the webinar. And then we have like our own email responders as well. But there’s something about live that just one, is more interactive and converts better. Because as you probably have seen as well, as soon as you go from left to automate it the conversion numbers are never the same.
Steve: Yeah, right.
Thanh: So if you do live at ten percent, which is pretty decent then if you go to automated if you do like, I don’t know, anywhere between like three and five percent that’s really good. Right? So like the numbers are never going to be the same but in terms of the impacts, I think combination of both is the way to go.
Steve: Okay. Hey Thanh. We’ve been chatting for quite a while now. Where can people find you to become more efficient.
Thanh: Yeah, you can go to asianefficiency.com. We also have a podcast called The Productivity Show, so you can look for that as well. And if you want you get in touch with me, you can just go to asianefficiency.com and reach me there.
Steve: Cool. And Thanh, where are the next events you’re going to be going to?
Thanh: I have no clue. My schedule is pretty empty this year. So I’m going to be playing it by ear and see what’s going on every single month.
Steve: Cool. Well, thanks a lot for coming on the show. Really appreciate your time.
Thanh: Thank you.
Steve: So there you have it all of the secrets to Asian efficiency in just 40 minutes. It is now a Level Playing Field for everyone, great. For more information about this episode. Go to mywifequitherjob.com/episode265. And once again, I want to thank Privy for sponsoring this episode. Privy is the email capture provider that I personally use the term visitors into email subscribers. They offer email capture exit intent and site targeting tools to make it super simple as well. And I like Privy because it is so powerful and you can basically trigger custom pop-ups for any parameter that is closely tied your eCommerce store. Now, if you want to give it a try it is free so head on over to privy.com/steve. Once again, that’s P-R-I-V-Y.com/steve.
I also want to thank Klaviyo which is my email marketing platform of choice for e-commerce Merchants. You can easily put together automated flows like an abandoned cart sequence a post purchase flow or win back campaign. Basically, all these sequences that will make you money on autopilot. So head on over to mywifequitherjob.com/klaviyo. Once again, That’s mywifequitherjob.com/klaviyo.
Now I talked about how I use these tools in my blog and if you’re interested in starting your own e-commerce store heading over to mywifequitherjob.com and sign up for my free six day mini-course just type in your email and I’ll send you the course right away. Thanks for listening.
Outro: Thanks for listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast where we are giving the courage people need to start their own online business. For more information visit Steve’s blog at www.mywifequitherjob.com