Hacking Traveling: How to travel like a local in all major cities

Travel Like A Local

While preparing for my current visit to H-Farm and Venice, I remembered a conversation I had with Noah Kagan and Shira Schwartz on our way north when Noah visited Israel.

What’s your trip planning strategy?” we asked, and each gave their two cents on how they approach planning traveling abroad.

How do you choose where to go and what to see? How do you decide if you want to “lazy” travel or really get around? etc.

With that conversation in mind, I decided to document my process for my latest visit to H-Farm and Venice.
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What is the book club (Your feedback required)

The Book Club

It always amazes me how, in 2017, the age of 3 minutes videos and 140# tweets – books still play such a big role in my life.

People are still shocked to discover that 1,200-2,000 words long blog post get more engagement and shares than the 500 words one, so let alone 400 pages.

At any given moment, I’m in the midst of reading a book.

You know what was a real fun surprise, though? The understanding I’m surrounded with people who feel just like me.

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5 Quick tips for creating a great presentation

5 Quick tips for creating a great presentation

I’ve just finished creating the presentation for tomorrow’s ‘Goal setting workshop’ (feel free to join us) and was inspired to share some tips on creating an engaging presentation.

There have been so many posts written about it that I’m guessing you already have your best practices set, but I’ll share mine anyway. You might find something here that is right for you.

Before I start, I highly recommend reading ‘ The presentation secrets of Steve Jobs’. This is be far the best book I’ve read on the matter.

5 Quick tips to create great presentations

 

Outline your story before you even open your Keynote (or PowerPoint):

The biggest mistake you can make when creating your presentation is starting right off with creating the presentation itself.

Great presentations are all about great storytelling, and like any good story, you first need to understand what is the main point you want get across, outline your story and organizing  it in a way your audience will really get it.

A simple A4 or notepad will do.

Write your story, its milestones, it main points – and only then ‘translate’ it to a presentation.

One point per slide

There’s nothing worst then an over- crowded slide.

Each slide should make only one point. Forget millions of bullet points, forget about cramming 200 words per slide. Simplify it.

Make sure each slide is focuses on delivering only one idea that your audience can easily understand and follow.

The slides accompany you, not the other way around

This is the most common mistakes I see speakers do.

You are the main event, not your slide deck.

You want your audience to focus on you, and what you are saying. If your slides are telling all the story, your audience will just read it quickly and stop paying attention to you.

Your slides should focus on one idea, emphasising what you are saying, not replacing it.

Use high quality images

Images and pictures will always grab more attention than text. But choosing the right image isn’t easy.

Make sure you are using pictures that are relevant to what you are talking about (at least in topic at atmosphere) but most of all – make sure you are using a high quality image and not just a crappy one you got online.

You can use websites such as Pexels on Unsplash to get free high resolution photos.

Watching a presentation with pixelated images, or a louse stock photo is a totally let down. Doesn’t matter how interesting you are or how important the topic is, your presentation just lost major points with your audience.

Frame your talk

At the beginning of your talk, give your audience a summary of what you’ll be talking about. So it’ll be easier for them to keep track of the talk’s progress, what to expect and even create anticipation,

Within your talk, make sure you are opening and closing topics in a way your audience can follow. Create a headline slide when starting a new topic, a summary slide at the end of the topic, and always try and leave room for questions.

If you don’t frame segment of your talk, or give context to what you’re going to talk about, you are making it hard for your audience to follow you.

If your audience looses interest for a second, it will be very hard to get their attention back.

In conclusion:

There are so many component of a good presentation, but I think this 5 will easily make your presentation better than over 90% of the presentations out there.

Are you using Slideshare to post your presentations? Share it in the comments.

2/3 Comfort Zone Challenges – Done!

I’m writing this update only seconds after completing my second ‘Out of my comfort zone challenge’ – Live streaming.

Originally the idea was to live-stream the launch of the Twitter email course, but I was not able to complete it on the due date, so I’ve decided to live-stream something else, and fail only 1 of my goals.

Instead, I turned to my Facebook and Twitter profiles and asked my followers to ask me growth questions they want me to answer on.

I got 12 questions in general. Out of those I picked 3: 

1. How would you promote a new podcast

2. How would you start with a new product

3. How to improve conversions from blog.

My main worries were:

1. Would people actually tune in to watch it?

2. Will I look good talking while in that ‘selfie” position.

3. Would it feel natural once I started.

Results: 

1. In overall, 37 people watched the 20 minutes broadcast 

2. No. Next time I need to find a stand for the iPhone or something like that

3. It actually did. Reminded me of the webinar experience. 

What’s the verdict:

I actually quite enjoyed it – and my team and I are thinking about turning it into a weekly thing.  

Would you ask questions and watch us every week?

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Out Of My Comfort Zone: Progress Report

So last week, I wrote a post about stepping out of my comfort zone.

In a short summary: Nothing good will happen in your comfort zone, and being limited to what you feel comfortable with is the holding back your progress.

In order to start stepping out of my comfort zone, I chose three simple and small tasks, so I won’t have a good excuse not to do them.

My challenges were:

1. Take 3 selfies (i’ve never taken and uploaded a selfie before. Yes I know, every 15 year old kid does it this days).

2. Launch a digital product (an email Twitter course for startups to be precise) and charge for it. 

3. Do a live streaming (Basically stream the launch of the Twitter course). 

I had 14 days to complete all tasks. 

Progress Report  

1. Selfies challenge: Mission accomplished! 

I took 3 selfies: two i’ve already posted online: 

1. Me, writing a blog post with the emotional support of my 1 month old baby girl. 

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2. We’ve recently moved to a new office space, and as we were going to get some coffee to start our day, we discovered that Nimrod, who was the owner of a coffee shop I started my business in (It was my office for 3 years) is now managing this coffee place. We were supper excited about it. Great selfie opportunity. 

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The third one, i’m posting online right now with this Tumblr post. Thank you Alan Weinkrantz (from Rackspace, they are awesome, you should check them out right now!)  for joining me for my final selfie in the challenge. 

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My other two challenges on the other hand are far from being complete. 

2. The Twitter course – I’ve outlined most of the content I need, started doing some of the research and thinking about some promotion tactics when launching. In terms of readiness to launch, I would say i’m 15% there. I will need to really put an effort into it this week if I want to do it on time. 

In terms of pricing: It will cost 4.99$

3.  Live streaming – this actually depends on the course progress.

Because I don’t want to lose 2/3 of the challenge if the course isn’t ready, I already have a backup plan of what I’ll stream instead – It will probably a growth tip, or presenting our next webinar. 

This is the update for now. I’ve finished 1/3. 

BTW, i’m actually doing an Instagram challenge for growing my following using specific tactics. Are you big on Instagram? Please let me know in the comments here. 

I Need To Step Out Of My Comfort Zone More Often  – This Is How I’m Going To Do It

Here’s a short list of things I KNOW I missed because I didn’t step out of my comfort zone in the last 3 years:

1. Growing my company faster

2. Building a stronger company at the present 

3. Giving talks to 3 of the biggest brands in the digital world

4. Over 100K$ (at least) in selling digital products and missing business opportunities 

5. Traveling abroad more

6. Stronger brand awareness 

7. Meeting some of my biggest heroes

This is only a real partial list. 

During the past month as I was on some kind of a ‘Paternity leave’ (more on that in another post) I had some time to think about my life, my business and how i’ve been living them so far.

Yes, I’ve achieved some very cool stuff  at my young age (both on a personal and business levels) but I know it’s only a friction. 

Why? Because I got carried away with worrying about the wrong themes and having self doubts (even Tim Ferriss has them, so it’s OK) and being too self-aware and self criticizing. 

How bad was it? Until last Friday, I never took a ‘selfie’ and posted it online! Thank you Gary Vaynerchuk for giving me the final push to do so

I HATE BEING CRIPPLED BY THESE THINGS!

So I’ve decided it’s time to handle it one step at the time. 

Here are some of the things I’ve done:

1. I talked with 3 friends that I feel are doing things I don’t have the guts to do.

2. I chose three programs / frameworks / challenges that to complete them I’ll have to step out of my comfort zone. 

Here are the 3 things I will be doing:

1. I never launched a digital product, or lets say, never really ‘sold’ something that aren’t my services. 

WHAT I’M GOING TO DO: 

I got an email from Gumroad telling me about an email course on ‘how to build a digital product’. 

Now, I’ve built tens (if not hundreds of them) for my clients, so I know how to do it successfully, but I’ve never done it for myself. So I’m going to follow through with Gumroad’s course just to give me structure .

In 14 days, I’m going to launch an email course to help startup marketers start and grow their company’s Twitter account. 

2. I’m not an ugly guy. I’m no Brad Pitt, but I’m definitely not the most ugly guy to take a selfie. So why is it so hard for me? I don’t know. 

Taking selfies with clients, thought leaders or generally in locations and event worth mentioning is a strong branding tool. It’s 2015, not using this, doesn’t make any sense. 

WHAT I’M GOING TO DO:

In the next 7 days I will take a selfie with 3 different people and post it to Twitter / Instagram. Just to get used to it. 

3. Tackle video / live streaming – I gave talks in front of hundreds of people. I don’t have stage fear of any kind, but video has always been hard for me. 

At the beginning I thought about making a short video and posting it online, but then I understood I will have too many excuses for not US it. So I found an alternative. 

WHAT I’M GOING TO DO:

I’m going to leverage the fact that i’ll be releasing the Twitter course, and i’m going to announce it using Meerkat (The live streaming for Twitter app). Why live streaming? Because it’s one take – one chance. No time to over complicate it.

This will happen in the next 12 days (Assuming the course will be ready in 14 days as planned). 

This isn’t ground breaking 

I know, these are simple stuff that people do everyday right? I could’ve been the worst teenager ever, right? 

There are so many things I need to tackle out of my comfort zone, but I wanted to start with 3 rather easy ones, so I could achieve my first small wins, meaning I will be more motivated to tackle bigger challenge later on. 

How To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone In 3 Steps

Here’s the framework I’m using right now to step out of my comfort zone – so you can use it too if you’d like.

1. Decide on 3 ‘issues’ you can easily do that are right now out of your comfort zone. Start with 3 simple things because getting those quick wins will get you motivated in tackling the bigger things that take more courage or willpower.

2. Define them in the most specific way: I didn’t just say “sell stuff online”, I actually looked for a very specific thing I can do in a very specific time frame. “3 selfies in 7 days”, “email course in 14 days”, “live streaming the product announcement using Meerkat”. The more specific I’ll get, the more I’m likely to actually do it.

3. Tell the world – If I’d only announce it to myself, I can easily back away from it, right? I’ll make up the same excuses I’ve always used and never do it. 

By announcing it I now have people watching me and expecting me to overcome my fears. Backing away right now will force me to “shame” myself or disappoint someone. 

Now, over to you 

When did you last leave your comfort zone? What would you like to do that you don’t have the guts to do now? Let me know in the comments.

You can also tell me on Twitter (@roypovar) lets do it together! 

This is the real problem with hiring content marketers

In past 3 years i’ve helped quite a lot of startups hire and train their content marketers. In recent year, growing my own agency, I had to hire content marketers for my team to work with our startup clients. 

The biggest problem when hiring a content marketer is not their writing skills.It’s not even creativity or past experience in similar roles. 

You Need A Brand

When I share a new blog post to growthhackers.com or even on Facebook / Twitter, the feedback is almost immediate. Traffic starts pouring in, shares and retweets starts occurring, even suggestions for guest posts etc. 

When my new employee, my new “content marketer” shares her own well written blog post  – she has to work twice as hard and 1/5 of the results. 

She’s an amazing writer. I taught her almost every trick in the book and she does it pretty well. 

The biggest difference is that she hasn’t build her personal brand yet. 

When doing content marketing, if you really want a post to become wildly spread you need to have a recognisable brand – either the company brand, or your personal brand.

One of you has to dominate the niche and to be an active contributor to your community. 

If you’re a nobody and you’ve just written a blog post for Buffer – it’s still going to go big. It’s Buffer! 

If you’re nobody and you are writing a post for an unknown company, well, good luck with that. 

This is what you should be looking for

If you’re about to hire a content marketer you need to look beyond writing skills, strategic thinking etc. 

You need to find someone who’s either already well-known in their niche (which should also be your niche), or someone that can easily understand the niche, audience and needs and easily become a part of it. 

The problem with hiring someone who’s totally new – is that now you have to give them space to build their brand for 3-6 months before they become valuable to your marketing team. 

If you’d give me two options: Hire someone from within the community with B level writing skills or someone who’s an amazing writer / content creator but has nothing to do with your niche, Go with the first one. 

Here’s why I don’t follow this rule when hiring new people

There are two sets of expertise most startups who are looking to hire a content marketer don’t have that I do:
1. I can teach almost anyone how to be an amazing content creator

2. I know how to create personal brands within a niche . This means that it will take me third the time to take someone from “who the hell are you?” to “Hi, I love your content!” on almost any niche. 

My employees work with different clients over time and they have to adjust themselves and become a valuable community member in different spaces. 

I took the time to deconstruct the minimum viable steps to become a community member and I know how to teach it to my employees. 

If you don’t know how to teach these two things, you need to stick what I’ve wrote earlier – find someone from within the niche. 

Conclusion and some tips

If you’re about to hire a content marketer, here’s what you should care about:

  1. She / He are well known in their niche.
  2. They really understand the audience.
  3. They have a community instinct in their personality.
  4. They are creative.
  5. They aren’t emotional about their writing – just about the results.
  6. They understand quality comes before quantity. 

P.S Writing a short guide on how to become an influential part of a community in under 40 days can actually be a good blog post… If you think it’s  a good topic let me know in the comments and i’ll write it up.

Is Your Company Culture Ignoring Mothers?

Disclaimer: I’m writing this post very rapidly and may have some grammar mistakes. Focus on the message. 

This past year, more and more of my friends have joined the circle of parenthood. I’m getting there soon (real soon).

Some of the mothers go back to their old position after their maternity leave, some quit because they can’t keep up with the intensity of the role alongside to being a new mother. 

Others, are looking for a more ‘mom friendly’ job. I HATE THAT DEFINITION.

When building a company, you are not just creating new products, but you are also building a new echo-system and changing society around you. 

I’ve seen startups adapting every kind of weird ass work environment trend – from stand up desks, treadmill desks, work from home, bring your dog, live for 6 months in on an island or whatever. 

Still the idea of personal development (Remember when this phrase meant more than just biohacking, productivity and GTD?) somehow remains undeveloped. 

Guess what, people evolve. They grow up. They might start working for you as a single person, get married and have kids along the way. This is not a problem. This is life. Adapt to it. 

Bosses still clinch the minute they hear a women interviewing for the role is a young mother. WHY?

You want your employees to be happy. Trust me, your want them to be very happy in their personal life. Getting married, having kids might be included in that happiness bundle. Be happy for them, be happy for your company.

A friend of mine who actually runs a company told me “the main problem is that their availability is not predictable and they have less time to work”. I also heard “they don’t care about the work, they have their kids on their mind and the puts the company in second priority”.  THIS IS SHIT.

If you’re in Startup marketing of any sorts, you probably know Buffer and their amazing blog. And they have an amazing blog right? Hell, they product so much amazing content that no one knows when they find the time to do it.

The person in charge of most of their amazing content is Kevan Lee. 

As part of their ‘open’ culture, Buffer has put up a post asking “how much do you work without set hours”. 

You can check it out here: https://open.bufferapp.com/how-much-do-you-work-without-set-hours-a-buffer-case-study/

Now go and see Kevan’s daily schedule: about 7.5 hours a day is dedicated to Family time and spending time with his son. 

Would you hire Kevan to work for you? Hell yeah you would! In a heartbeat. 

If you feel like your employee’s motherhood is working against your company, or you shouldn’t hire a mother because you are afraid it will damage productivity or availability  – you are doing it wrong.

Don’t build a culture where parenthood is an obstacle. Build better companies and focus on culture that matters. 

The Doube Life Of Startup Marketing: Short Term VS. Long Terms

What is more important for a startup? a 12 month marketing plan or a series of marketing tests to conduct within the next 30 days? 

Almost every growth hacker or marketer that works with an early stage startups will tell you – ‘focus on the next 30 days, who knows if we’ll still be here in 12 months.’ They are mostly right, but also deadly wrong. 

It’s true – planning a year ahead is equal to planning on how you’ll spend your lottery winnings before even buying a ticket, but it is also essential for you to understand where’s your end goal. 

In order to give actual meaning to these 30 days of tests, you need to have an idea of how you would like your next 12 months results look like. 

This is the real struggle between long term and short term goals. 

A series of tests will lead you nowhere without a plan. 

As I see it, you always need to sustain two workflows at once:

Short term: tests we’er conducting at the moment and spend 80% of our time one – as they need to be completed and show results faster. The cycles per project here should be short and valbuble. 

Long Terms: Things that will take longer to see benefit from, but needs to be done. This is where we’ll put 20% of our effort on daily basis.

Lets take Brand Awareness for example:

PR is a short term that mostly does well as a part of the long term goal. 

Lets say you are focusing your next month on getting coverage – it means you find the right reporters to pitch, build your press kit, create you personal email pitch etc. Focus on this 80% of your time next month, pitch to reportes and get your story out. It’s a short term in terms of PR cycle but it helps your progress with your “Brand awarness’ long term goal.

Brand awareness through blogging, is solely a long term goal. You have to put effort into making it work for you, but it’s almost never a quick win. If you’re a new startup and all you do for marketing is only blogging, you will find it really hard to gain initial traction. 

Combine blogging and PR together, and you will get faster traction. 

I’m actually not sure this is the best example, but it’s the one I can think of at the moment (I do a 10 minute rule on this Tumblr blog – more on the later). 

I will write a more in-depth post about this notion in the next couple of weeks, as I feel this post is too simplictic in trying to get a complicated message across. 

But would love to get your initial feedback, what do you think? 

How are you managing your company long/short term goals? 

The One Thing No One Likes To Talk About When It Comes To Entrepreneurship

Everywhere you go, people are advocating and celebrating entrepreneurship. 

If you’re looking for tips on being a better leader, better boss, better marketer, better entrepreneur, more charismatic – just go to every business related blog/ website, read another Steve Jobs biography or “how Mark Zuckerberg hires employees’ article. 

Here’s the most critical thing no one is talking about when it comes to entrepreneurship and they really should: 

What are you willing to sacrifice?

Before you get to be (IF you’ll get to be) the next  Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg or Tony Robbins you’re going to be just another entrepreneur trying to make it. 

You don’t start with success, you start with a struggle. With the real hustle. Not the kind inc.com celebrates, but the kind that can you leave you lonely and friendless. 

****Read this carefully: ****

Being an entrepreneur or starting your own startup means long days and nights, sometimes sacrificing the money you planned to spend on leisure activities or vacations.

It can also mean not going on dates, missing a few nights of going to bed with your spouse, not being there to bathe your newborn baby, not going out with friends and i’m not even talking about the stress that comes with running a business that relays on you and having your brain working 24/7. 

If you’re not willing to do some sacrifices, you’re not ready to become an entrepreneur 

Not everybody are cut out to start their own business. It’s ok. But you have to face this question early on. 

In the past year i’ve been mentoring 3 different early stage startup accelerators, and I keep seeing this startups that are looking to be the next Whatsapp or Twitter, or whatever Startup Superhero people are raving about that week. 

A lot of them are not doing this because they feel real passion to starting their own thing, they are doing it because the ‘lets start our own startup’  is the new ‘lets start a rock band’. But they are not really ready to risk or sacrificing anything for it.

Ask yourself: Am I willing to make some serious sacrifices for my business to work?